Over the last 15 years, the Doing Business project has recorded nearly 3,200 reforms in 186 economies around the world. The area that's seen the greatest number of reforms is starting a business. Today, the time taken to start a new small or medium business has less than halved to an average of 20 days worldwide, compared with 52 in 2003. Read more in Doing Business 2018
Private Sector Development
What’s the key ingredient for successful innovations? I often hear people answer creativity, collaboration, open mindset, leadership. For me, it is the ability to learn and adapt.
But learning is meaningful only if it’s based on reliable data, and adaptation leads to the expected results if the data is timely and feeds into the decision-making process.
For example, take GNRC Medical (formerly known as Guwahati Neurological Research Centre), a hospital in North Guwahati, India that aims to provide quality healthcare service at an affordable cost to underprivileged populations. GNRC has an inclusive multi-specialty facility, provides ambulance services, and offers customized healthcare packages to the poor, promoting preventive healthcare and early intervention. Despite its unique service offer, GNRC faced major challenges, including the lack of awareness among local communities on medical conditions and available treatments.
The program of events at the just concluded 2017 World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings was rich, and covered a range of topics instrumental to the World Bank Group’s work.
However, the event closest to my heart was on the role national development banks (NDBs) can play to close the staggering financing gap needed to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, nicknamed going “from billions to trillions” of dollars.
Since the SDGs were announced, the international development community has been looking at ways to tap into new funding venues, attract the private sector and build relevant private-public sector partnerships.
Also available in: Español | Português
Photo (right): Mr. Amarin Jitnathum / Shutterstock
The Latin America and Caribbean region (LAC) has an infrastructure gap: the region needs to invest at least 5% of GDP to cover its infrastructure needs, but is currently investing only half that. To put it mildly, there is still a lot of room for improvement for both the public and private sectors, and also for multilaterals working in the region.
In a combined effort to reduce infrastructure gaps, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) have become, again, a popular tool since 2005. LAC was the predominant region for PPPs until the late 1990s, when investments plummeted due in part to a backlash of poorly-implemented PPPs.
Triggered by low commodity prices and rising fiscal deficits, as well as by improvements in PPP readiness, many countries established dedicated agencies and strengthened regulations leading to increases in PPP investments from $8 billion in 2005 to $39 billion in 2015. In total, LAC has seen investments of $361.3 billion in around 1,000 PPP infrastructure projects in just one decade, mostly in energy and transport.
Also available in: Español | English
Foto (direita): Amarin Jitnathum / Shutterstock
A região da América Latina e Caribe (ALC) apresenta uma lacuna em termos de infraestrutura: a região precisa investir no mínimo 5% do PIB para atender suas necessidades neste setor, mas atualmente investe apenas metade desse percentual. Explicando de uma forma suave, há ainda muito espaço para melhorias por parte do setor público, do setor privado, bem como das organizações multilaterais que trabalham na região.
Em um esforço combinado de reduzir as lacunas de infraestrutura, as Parcerias Público-Privadas voltaram a ser uma ferramenta popular a partir de 2005. A ALC era a região com maior predominância de PPPs até o fim dos 1990s, quando os investimentos despencaram em parte como reação adversas provocadas por PPPs mal implementadas.
Incentivados pelos preços baixos dos produtos primários e déficits fiscais crescentes, assim como pelo aprimoramento da capacidade de preparação de PPPs, muitos países criaram agências específicas e fortaleceram regulamentações que levaram ao aumento de investimentos em PPPs de US$ 8 bilhões em 2005 para US$ 39 bilhões em 2015. No total, em apenas uma década, a ALC teve investimentos de US$ 361,3 bilhões referentes a aproximadamente 1000 PPPs de projetos de infraestrutura, principalmente nos setores de energia e transportes.
It is easy enough to find data on flows of foreign direct investment (FDI). There are also plenty of anecdotes out there that purportedly encapsulate what businesses worldwide are thinking. It is far more difficult, however, to establish rigorous connections between global investment trends and individual investment decisions by international companies. In the World Bank Group’s newly published Global Investment Competitiveness Report 2017–2018, our team does just this, combining new survey data, rigorous econometric analysis, and extensive literature reviews to reveal what is going on behind the headline numbers.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
Also available in: Français
What is it like to set up and run an incubator as a woman? The answer, much like anywhere else in the world for working women, is that it’s complicated.
In many countries, it’s still unusual to see women working in certain sectors. Regina Mbodj, CTIC Dakar CEO, knows very few women in Senegal who studied ICT. “When I came home and told people about my studies, a lot of people responded, 'I thought only men did that!'"
Mariem Kane, an engineer by training and now president of Mauritania’s incubator Hadina RIMTIC, said that career development can be difficult for women who have been trained in hard skills. “It’s tough for women to find opportunities in these sectors and, because we’re considered more suited to softer skills, we aren’t given the opportunity to prove ourselves.”
Also available in: Français
As we saw in our second blog, . Yet, in many West-African countries, long-standing stigmas against the private sector are still big obstacles for women and young people who aspire to become entrepreneurs.
Family support, in particular, remains critical for women’s career choices, and the private sector doesn’t always enjoy a good reputation among parents. “It’s very hard for them [parents] to understand why we want to do this instead of getting a steady government job,” says Binta Ndiaye, MakeSense Africa CEO. “My mother is an entrepreneur, but she did that on top of her regular job and raising a family in France, so it’s not seen as a career in-and-of-itself.”
“Entrepreneurship is inherently risky, so if you don’t have that support and encouragement, or even your family’s blessing to go for it, I can understand that it could be extremely challenging for some women,” says Mariem Kane, founder and president of Mauritania’s incubator Hadina RIMTIC.
Ndiaye for one, though, is not deterred: “It’s up to us to educate them on this potential and to have the resolve to follow-through. If you can convince skeptical parents, you can convince any investor.”
Considering that these incubators are run by women, do they make special efforts to recruit women entrepreneurs?
Lisa Barutel founder and CEO of La Fabrique, acknowledges that even though La Fabrique received a huge response to a recent call for proposals targeting women, far fewer apply to general calls that do not have a specific focus on women entrepreneurship. “Normally we don’t go out looking for candidates, as we can be inundated with applications, but when we noticed this discrepancy, we did launch a program to identify women with potential,” she says.
Those following the discussions during the IMF and World Bank Group Annual Meetings held in Washington last week will have noticed that our approach toward international economic development is changing in a major way—and, I believe, for the better.
Saturday’s panel discussion on Maximizing Finance for Development set the context that many in the development community now know well, but bears repeating: It will take not billions, but many trillions of dollars to meet rising aspirations for better infrastructure, health and education. Specifically, we are talking about $4 trillion every year needed to meet the Sustainable Development Goals to which the international community agreed in September 2015.