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Growing the ‘economic pie’ in Armenia

Laura Bailey's picture
Also available in: Русский
In earlier posts, I highlighted the importance of creating equal opportunities for all of Armenia’s girls and boys – to learn, to grow, and to choose the ways in which they can contribute to their economy, their society, and their country. I believe that a more diversified and resilient economy, with a fuller range of options for both men and women, can help slow outmigration and ‘brain drain’, and help Armenia grow in a sustainable way.

In addition to our discussions here in Armenia about encouraging women’s participation in the labor market, we’ve also been talking about the ways in which men’s lives and livelihoods are disadvantaged, such as the persistent higher mortality rate for men throughout their adult years. And, we’ve been wondering: how do dynamics like these affect the economy and society as a whole?

Victims of crime: Service delivery and support for the most vulnerable

Georgia Harley's picture
Also available in: Русский

The news is filled with stories of crime & violence, law & order. We hear from victims and eyewitnesses. We send thoughts and prayers. But when the spotlight moves on to the next crime or the next city, the victims of crime and their families remain, trying to get back on their feet after an ordeal.  

Often, these are among the most vulnerable members of our communities.

When a good neighborhood takes you back to your childhood

Victor Neagu's picture
Also available in: Русский
Roma kids, Hungary

There’s so much peace in Györgytelep. As you enter this neighborhood of Pécs, in Hungary, your eyes are immediately drawn to the horizon – where a gargantuan construction project leaves you marveling and pondering its purpose.

Voices of youth: Give me hope and I’ll succeed

Gilles Cols's picture
Also available in: Русский | Français
Tajikistan is the youngest and fastest growing country in the Europe and Central Asia region, with those under 25 years old making up around 55 percent of the population. So, young people filled with enthusiasm and ambition - just like anywhere in the world - really are Tajikistan’s greatest asset.

Young women, Tajikistan

Can Moldova have a viable pension system … if retirement age is increased?

Yuliya Smolyar's picture
Also available in: Русский | Română
Pensioner in Moldova

In my first blog on Moldova’s pension system, I discussed challenges and reform options. My second one focused on the incentives to contribute into that pension system. Now, in this third blog, I am going to discuss Moldova’s retirement age: why it is important to raise it ... and why it is equally challenging to do so.
 
To better understand the issues faced by public pension systems today, it is important to remember that they are generally pay-as-you-go schemes. This means that those who work today pay the pensions of those who are retired.
 
This particular system was first introduced in Germany back in the 19th century, when the workforce was growing – a very different situation from what we have today. Rapidly ageing societies, longer life expectancy at retirement, lower fertility and migration are all adding pressures on pension systems in many European countries, including Moldova.

Securing Serbia’s farming future

Bekzod Shamsiev's picture
A farmer in pepper greenhouse, Central Serbia.
Photo: Jutta Benzenberg/World Bank
As Serbia moves to join the European Union, smallholder farmers like Goran Matic are concerned about the challenges of integrating with a highly competitive market of half-a-billion consumers. He is not alone. Many farmers throughout southeastern Europe are asking whether family farms can compete with commercial farms and agribusiness conglomerates and whether “farming heritage" as we know it can survive.
 
There are no simple answers.
 
The opportunities and challenges of EU accession
When economies integrate with foreign markets, trading opportunities, consumer choices and knowledge and technology exchanges increase. However, openness also exerts pressures on industries – including farming – to improve productivity in order to remain in business. Serbia finds itself at this very juncture. The decision to join the European Union (EU) and integrate with the EU’s highly competitive single market of 500 million consumers has raised the stakes for its economy overall, but especially agriculture.

From forgotten Yugos to new engines of growth: Reviving the car industry in South East Europe

John Mackedon's picture
The former Yugoslavia was mainly known for its not-so-successful and cheap cars, primarily the Yugo. In its review of the 50 worst cars of all time, Time magazine referred to the Yugo GV as the “Mona Lisa of bad cars.”

Nevertheless, the car industry played an important role in the economic development of the socialist Yugoslavia, representing a big employer across all former Yugoslav republics. The onset of war in the early 1990s dealt a significant blow to the car industry there, with most the production facilities closing down by the end of that decade.

And then, in the early 2000s, car companies began opening new facilities in the immediate neighborhood (Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia) and the region began producing world renowned brands such as Audi, Mercedes Benz, Renault, and Suzuki. This represented a new opportunity for manufacturers from the region to enter new supply chains - relying on skilled and experienced labor. On top of this, FIAT also opened a new factory in Serbia, further spurring demand for locally produced automotive parts.
 

As Georgia innovates, hidden talents are revealed

Tako Kobakhidze's picture
Also available in: Русский | Georgian
Tech Park Georgia

​On top of Mount Mtatsminda, overlooking Georgia’s capital city of Tbilisi, the country’s future innovation is being prepared as today meets tomorrow.

Let me tell you about Tech Park of Georgia!

I recently visited there with some World Bank colleagues. We were hosted by Mariam Lashkhi, a former colleague who now leads the Department of International Relations at Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency (GITA) overseeing the Tech Park. Mariam, who was involved in the development of Georgia’s Competitiveness and Innovation Project while at the Bank, gave us a brief history of GITA, created in 2013.

It all began with an idea to support Georgia’s government and the private sector in advancing innovation-led growth of key sectors of economy. Ultimately, the goal was to drive competitiveness and ensure longer-term sustainable growth, with a focus on job creation.

What does it take to modernize government administration? Lessons from Romania

Irina Schuman's picture
Also available in: Română | Русский


Romania has transformed tremendously in the past decades.  Like its neighbors, the former transition economy has decisively committed to European Union (EU) integration. This has opened up great opportunities for both its citizens and its economy.  

This transformation has had a positive impact on agriculture and rural areas. The European Common Agricultural Policy provided a sound policy framework, emphasizing investment in agriculture and rewarding environmentally friendly farming. It also drove institutional change by introducing modern IT systems and practices for the management of EU funds, as well as by committing €24 billion for the Romanian farmers and rural dwellers through 2020.

Yet, the transformation has proven unequal in the agriculture and rural sector, as well as in the sector administration.

Why was this the case?

Good governance and improved institutions can drive Europe’s growth

Elisabetta Capannelli's picture
Also available in: Română


I was in London last week for a conference hosted by the European Commission and the London School of Economics and Political Science. Its purpose was to take stock of what has worked in regional development in the European Union (EU), look at existing institutional ingredients, and explore the policy mix that could help bring Europe’s lagging regions closer to the center of economic development.

What are lagging regions?

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