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WEF, EIB Urge EU Finance Ministers To Make Inclusive Growth Top Priority

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) and World Economic Forum have issued a call to action for social inclusion to be put at the heart of EU economic policy. It comes as a new joint White Paper by both organizations, with contributions from the think tank Bruegel, is launched to make the case for more private-public sector partnership to drive a more inclusive approach to growth in Europe.

Innovation and entrepreneurship are the prime ways that growth and inclusion in Europe can be supported, says the White Paper, which puts forward key recommendations for action: from supporting public-private partnerships for technology diffusion, investing in smart transport infrastructure, supporting schemes for migrant entrepreneurs, a better strategy for teaching advanced digital skills as well as better access to venture capital and non-traditional sources of financing for small businesses.

EIB Vice President Andrew McDowell who is hosting today’s gathering of policymakers, business representatives and academics at the European Investment Banks Brussels Headquarters, said: “As we launch our report, EU finance ministers are meeting across the road. They know only too well the costs of growing inequality and uncertain prospects for the European economy. Our report is saying inclusion can no longer be treated as an afterthought. It is not a luxury – it is a catalyst for growth. What our very concrete and practical study shows and indeed what we see on the ground at the EU bank, is there is a win-win space where we can promote both inclusion and competiveness at the same time. Now we have to scale this up and bring the private and public sectors together to do this.”

Richard Samans, Member of the Managing Board of the World Economic Forum said: “We need a major shift in mindset in how we think about inclusion – as a positive catalyst for growth. It’s about rethinking our economic model and moving away from treating growth and inclusion as two separate processes. A partnership between the public and private sector joined by academic and civil society can help bring this about. The report we are launching and discussing today – and our Europe Growth Lab project provide starting points for implementation. I would urge policymakers to take heed – and use this study and our partnership as a valuable guide to how we can move forward.”

Today’s paper is a direct product of the WEF-EIB partnership, with contributions from Bruegel under the Europe Inclusive Growth and Competitiveness Lab set up in February 2016. The Lab aims to support the design and implementation of private-public partnerships in EU member states to increase competiveness and inclusive growth in Europe.

The “Beyond the Equity-Efficiency Trade-Off: Practical Ideas for Inclusive Growth and Competitiveness in Europe” paper identified around 25 concrete examples in Europe of real initiatives focused on innovation and entrepreneurship that can serve as starting points for implementation, acceleration and scaling up.

These examples include:

· Work by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology in teaching in teaching digital skills and attracting talent is featured.

· The approach of Austrian public-private partnership Pilotfabrik 4.0, and Tech City UK‘s Upscale programme in supporting start-ups and spreading innovation demonstrated how treating growth and inclusion together pays off, according to the report.

· The link between smart infrastructure, competitiveness and inclusion is successfully shown by initiatives like Superfast Cornwall, Madrid’s Real Time Passenger Information System and Enexis in the Netherlands.

· Hamburg’s “Working Group of Immigrant Entrepreneurs” is presented as an approach to encourage social integration and the contribution of migrant entrepreneurs to the economy.

The study proposes key areas for action including:

· Promoting innovation and diffusing existing technologies more rapidly across all types of firms.

· Pushing and supporting entrepreneurship – including the transition from start-up to scale-up.

· Investing in people, particularly society’s youngest and promoting a better strategy for advanced digital skills teaching.

· More investment in a connected Europe with broadband for all and investment in smart transport and smart grids.

· Stepping up of credit guarantees for small business, more support for venture capital and growth capital funding – such as through the InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility.

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Knowledge Exchange Program between World Bank and Parliamentarians of Nepal

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photo: World Bank

Members of the Federal Parliament in Nepal and officials from the World Bank held consultations and development policy dialogue at a knowledge exchange program held today. Over 40 members of the Parliamentary Finance Committee and the Parliamentary Secretariat took part in the program.

“These engagements with the representatives of the people of Nepal are a key part of our role and responsibility as trusted partners in Nepal. They allow us to exchange ideas, and to better understand the vision of the Nepali people in reducing extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. It also allows us to share experiences on development narratives from the rest of the world.” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, “The country’s path of nation-building and sustainable development relies on sound policies and institutions, and the Parliament is key in ensuring that these are both in place.”

During the program supported by the World Bank and facilitated by the Parliament Secretariat, the Country Manager Faris H. Hadad-Zervos introduced the World Bank Group operations in Nepal, its instruments, country partnership framework and areas of development support. This was followed by a synopsis of the Bank’s analysis of latest macroeconomic and development updates, presented by World Bank Senior Country Economist Kene Ezemenari. Xiaoping Wang and Rabin Shrestha, Senior Energy Specialists from the World Bank then presented on the current scenario of the power sector in Nepal.

“The program was a great opportunity to understand the World Bank Group operations and explore avenues of cooperation and support in the days to come,” said Krishna Prasad Dahal, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, “Extensive sharing of data, information and practical knowledge will help pinpoint the direction of future policies and refine our responsibilities as lawmakers.”

The World Bank is engaging the Nepali Parliament in various ways. Through the Integrated Public Financial Management (PFM) Project supported by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (financed by Australia, Switzerland, DFID, EU, Norway and USAID), The World Bank is currently supporting the Parliament of Nepal through strengthening of the PFM capacity of technical staff in the Secretariat. Knowledge exchange opportunities will be provided to MPs within this program. Provincial Parliaments will also be progressively targeted since they can benefit from the expertise of the Federal Parliament to build their own.

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Africa Industrialization Day 2018 celebrated in Côte d’Ivoiren

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On the occasion of Africa Industrialization Day’s (AID) worldwide celebrations, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Côte d’Ivoire’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and SME Promotion organized an event to discuss the importance of industrialization for the development of Africa with a particular focus on Côte d’Ivoire.

“Industrialization represents the best means to create more employment and to improve the living conditions of the population,” said Souleymane Diarrassouba, Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister of Trade, Industry and SME Promotion, during his welcome speech. “The government of Côte d’Ivoire, in collaboration with the financial and technical partners, is engaged in promoting the industrialization of the country.”

After reading a Joint Statement of the African Union Commission, the United Nation Economic Commission for Africa and UNIDO on the occasion of the AID event held in Vienna, Tidiane Boye, UNIDO’s Representative in Côte d’Ivoire, quoted UNIDO’s Director General, LI Yong: “AID 2018 represents an important occasion to raise awareness of the importance of a concerted programmatic approach to the promotion of rapid and inclusive industrialization in Africa.” Boye also paid tribute to H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, for his engagement as Champion of the Third Industrial Development Decade for Africa.

The event was an opportunity to present the main findings of UNIDO’s Industrial Development Report 2018 – which focuses on the importance of demand as a driver of industrial development – and perspectives on the development of the pharmaceutical global value chain in Africa.

Nicola Cantore, UNIDO Research and Industrial Policy Officer, pointed out that under the right set of conditions, the consumption of manufactures can set in motion a virtuous circle of industrial development – comprising income creation, demand diversification and massification of consumption – but that this virtuous circle often requires specific policy measures to attain socially inclusive or environmentally sustainable industrialization.

”For Côte d’Ivoire, a gap still needs to be filled in terms of increasing the share of manufacturing exports in total exports and the technological contents of exports, which are still too dependent on primary goods,” Cantore said.

The social dimension of industrialization was well-captured by the presentation of Assane Coulibaly, UNIDO’s Lead ECOWAS Coordinator for Pharmaceuticals GMP Roadmap Initiative, who explained how the development of local capabilities in the pharmaceutical industry is a key step to ensure affordability and availability of medicines essential to the development of an effective health system.

The event was attended by representatives of the government and the private sector.

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World Bank Group Announces $50 billion over Five Years for Climate Adaptation and Resilience

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The World Bank Group today launched its Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience. Under the plan, the World Bank Group will ramp up direct adaptation climate finance to reach $50 billion over FY21–25. This financing level—an average of $10 billion a year—is more than double what was achieved during FY15-18. The World Bank Group will also pilot new approaches to increasing private finance for adaptation and resilience.

“Our new plan will put climate resilience on an equal footing with our investment in a low carbon future for the first time. We do this because, simply put, the climate is changing so we must mitigate and adapt at the same time,” said World Bank Chief Executive Officer Kristalina Georgieva.We will ramp up our funding to help people build a more resilient future, especially the poorest and most vulnerable who are most affected.”

The increase in adaptation financing will support activities that include:

  • Delivering higher quality forecasts, early warning systems and climate information services to better prepare 250 million people in at least 30 countries for climate risks;
  • Supporting 100 river basins with climate-informed management plans and/or improved river basin management governance;
  • Building more climate-responsive social protection systems; and
  • Supporting efforts in at least 20 countries to respond early to, and recover faster from, climate and disaster shocks through additional financial protection instruments.

In addition to boosting finance, the Plan will also support countries to mainstream approaches to systematically manage climate risks at every phase of policy planning, investment design, and implementation.

“This Action Plan is a welcome step from the World Bank,” said Ban Ki-moon, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and co-chair of the Global Commission on Adaptation. “The world’s poorest and most climate vulnerable countries stand to benefit from its increased finance and support for longer term policy change.”

The Action Plan builds on the link between adaptation and development by promoting effective and early actions that also provide positive development outcomes. For example, investing in mangrove replanting may protect a local community against sea level rise and storm surges, while also creating new opportunities for eco-tourism and fisheries. Early and proactive adaptation and resilience-building actions are more cost-effective than addressing impacts after they occur.

The Action Plan also includes the development of a new rating system to create incentives for, and improve the tracking of, global progress on adaptation and resilience. The new system will be piloted by the World Bank in FY19-20 and rolled out to projects in relevant sectors by FY21.

The Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience forms part of the World Bank Group’s 2025 Targets to Step Up Climate Action which were launched in December 2018, during the UN’s COP24 in Poland.

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