In an era of chronically slow economic growth, what steps can policymakers take to help jump-start productivity, spur employment and build long-term wealth? Recognizing that the private sector
must create about 90 percent of the economy’s future jobs
, which policy reforms
can most effectively encourage private-sector investment?
Questions like those – focusing on the private sector as the principal driver of growth, with deft public policy as an indispensable catalyst – inspired a dialogue among some of the developing world’s most experienced policymakers at a major forum, “Powering Up Growth: Ideas for Beating the Slowdown
,” during the recent Spring Meetings
of the World Bank Group
and the International Monetary Fund
. All four government Ministers on the panel – from both commodity-exporting and -importing countries – voiced a sense of urgency, describing their efforts to attract private investment to spur job creation, amid a global economy that seems destined for prolonged weakness.
Before the policymakers ascended the Preston Auditorium stage, sobering updates had arrived from the Bank and the Fund: The Bank’s latest forecast
for global growth has been lowered from 2.9 percent to 2.5 percent – with the caveat that this latest forecast is subject to further downside risks. That downward revision is in parallel with the Fund’s similar projection, which sees global growth this year in the neighborhood of just 3 percent.
Policymakers worldwide are eager to explore any option to try to lay the foundation for an eventual return to a long-term economic expansion. It was clear that the panelists in the “Powering Up Growth
” event – which was convened by Jan Walliser
, the Vice President for the Bank Group’s practice group on Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions (EFI) and organized
by the Global Practice for Macroeconomics and Fiscal Management
(MFM) – were focused on long-term structural changes that can energize the private sector’s ability to drive growth.
Powering Up Growth: Ideas for Beating the Slowdown
The panelists – from Bolivia, Pakistan, Angola and Ukraine – represented countries from different regions and at various levels of economic development, but they shared a determination to jump-start growth through reforms that will strengthen the private sector’s long-term confidence. The Ministers, at times, seemed to envision opportunities, not just for short-term structural adjustment of their priorities or medium-term structural reform of their policy farmeworks, but for far-reaching structural transformation of their economies and societies.