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Make the Reskilling Revolution a Priority in the Recovery

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“There has been a lot of talk during the last few years, but very, very limited action” on education, reskilling and upskilling efforts, said Alain Dehaze, Chief Executive Officer, Adecco Group, Switzerland, in a session on Transforming Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning at the World Economic Forum’s Jobs Reset Summit today. “Efforts must include a range of stakeholders “because reskilling, upskilling and training are not [just] an individual question or a business questions or a governmental question.”

The Palestinian National Authority has launched a novel effort aimed at “the rehabilitation of university graduates” through entrepreneurship, said Mohammad Ibrahim Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority. Many graduates end up unemployed because their degrees did not provide them with marketable skills. “We are teaching them to become computer coders, and we have introduced other vocational training courses,” he said. “Students must stop relying on a job with the private sector or a job with the government. I want them to be self-employed.”

“I’m so glad to hear that we have a national leader who really recognizes that entrepreneurship education is a priority, and it’s something which can be taught,” said Asheesh Advani, President and Chief Executive Officer, JA Worldwide, USA.

Lynda Gratton, Professor of Management Practice, London Business School, United Kingdom, agreed, adding that efforts to accelerate advances in education, training, reskilling and upskilling must be a multistakeholder effort, and inclusive: “Otherwise, in 10 years’ time, we won’t have the right people sitting in the right jobs.” She noted that such efforts should “leverage technology” and that new credentials need to be established and recognized for the attainment of emerging skills.

Inclusion should extend beyond diversity “to include young boys and girls growing up across the world,” said Mariéme Jamme, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, iamtheCODE, United Kingdom. “The starting point is actually to make sure their human rights are respected” and then giving them the tools they will need in the workplace.

“With today’s kids, the thing they want to learn most … are things like coding and computer science,” said Hadi Partovi, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Code.org, USA. “Computer science and entrepreneurship are not only the skills that students need the most, but also the things they want the most.”

With regard to credentials, Advani noted that they are partnering with employers to recognize a new micro-credential, encouraging young people to add it to their online jobs profile, and working with governments to get access to schools.

Advani also noted that “Even after doing an entrepreneurship programme, [students] don’t become entrepreneurs. Soft skills, communication skills and adaptability skills become so important in the job market, knowing that young people are going to have potentially seven careers” during their lifetime.

Among the initiatives launched at the summit, government officials in Turkey today announced the launch of a Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator, joining 10 countries through the Forum platform in applying a similar framework to rapidly upskilling their workforce.

“Rapid technological progress, globalization and now COVID-19 are revolutionizing how we work. There will be a new set of skills needed to adapt and prosper. As policy-makers, we are obliged to ensure a smooth and equal transition that works for all. I trust that the Accelerator Network will further enhance real sector collaboration among nations. Turkey is ready to capture the opportunities of the new normal with its favourable demographics, flexible and skilled workforce,” said Mustafa Varank, Minister of Industry and Technology of Turkey.

“In today’s world where information and technology are changing rapidly, technology has gained a great momentum to become the new normal of our daily life with the pandemic process. This rapid momentum has made it inevitable to integrate new skills into our lives. This skills change will take place with a qualified education and, in this context, everyone from public institutions to non-governmental organizations has a great duty. I believe that the Closing the Skills Gap Accelerator Programme will play a role in strengthening cooperation in the new normal process and triggering the power of learning together,” said Ziya Selçuk, Minister of Education of Turkey.

“By adopting an industry-oriented workforce transformation approach and seizing the demographic window of opportunity, the Ministry of Family, Labour and Social Services strives to prepare Turkey to meet the future labour market needs and challenges. With a view to leaving no one behind, we will improve the use of technology, ensure more productive and safer workplaces for emerging new types of work, and improve the digital skills of our workers within the perspective of tripartite dialogue,” said Zehra Zümrüt Selçuk, Minister of Family, Labour and Social Services of Turkey.

In January 2020, the World Economic Forum launched the Reskilling Revolution, a multistakeholder initiative aiming to provide better education, new skills and better work to 1 billion people around the world by 2030. It serves as a platform for connecting and coordinating initiatives within specific countries, industries, organizations and schools. In the past months, it has supported stakeholders in adjusting their efforts to the new context of the pandemic and promoted rapid exchange of best practices between initiatives. We invite leaders and organizations to contribute to the platform.

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Finance

Albania Has Opportunity to Build a More Sustainable Growth Model

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Albania’s economy, like other countries in the region, is recovering faster than expected after the historic recession created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the contraction of the economy by 4 percent in 2020, GDP growth is projected to reach 7.2 percent in 2021, one of the highest among Western Balkans countries, says the latest edition of the Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, Greening the Recovery.

The strong recovery is supported by consumption, tourism, and construction. Going forward, growth is expected to moderate at 3.8 percent in 2022 and 3.7 percent in 2023.

Albania’s poverty rate is projected to fall below its pre-pandemic level by end-2021. Employment and labor force participation is also recovering, albeit with a lag, and real wages are increasing.

The recovery is contributing to fiscal revenue collection. Macroeconomic policies have supported the recovery, but higher spending has led to a further rise in the debt-to-GDP ratio. Economic uncertainty remains high, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues worldwide.

“The Albanian economy has shown encouraging signs of recovery in 2021,” said Emanuel Salinas, World Bank Country Manager for Albania. “As growth rebounds, Albania has the opportunity to strengthen the sustainability of its economic model and implement reforms that further support sustainable and shared growth, while preserving macroeconomic stability.”

The report shows that the Western Balkans region has improved significantly, with GDP growth now projected to reach 5.9 percent in 2021, after a 3.1 percent contraction in 2020. Growth in the region is projected at 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3.8 percent in 2023.

The poverty rate for the region is projected to resume its pre-pandemic downward trend and fall by around 1 percentage point to 20.3 percent, close to its 2019 level.

The regionwide recovery is due to strength in both domestic and external demand. A sharp rebound in domestic consumption and in travel across Europe helped boost remittances as well as tourism inflows during the 2021 peak summer season. A strong recovery in advanced economies also provided a boost to demand for the region’s exports.

However, the recovery remains fragile. Early warning signals from the labor market call for close policy attention. Job losses from the recession and its aftermath have disproportionately affected women and youth, which may set back efforts to raise the region’s perennially low rates of labor force participation. Youth unemployment in the region rose to 37.7 percent in 2021, up 5.4 percentage points from June 2020, further worsening youth employment prospects.

“As the Western Balkans countries look to a post-pandemic future, their policy approach will need to focus on addressing key impediments to job creation and economic transformation, including green transition,” said Linda Van Gelder, World Bank Country Director for the Western Balkans. “All six countries would benefit from reforms in the business environment, governance, and digitalization, which would contribute to growth and close the gap with EU countries.”

The report also looks at the macro-fiscal challenges and drivers of greening the region’s growth. The Western Balkans now find themselves at a key decision point regarding the impending green transition.

Global strides toward climate action are causing fundamental changes in society. Consumer and investor preferences are shifting, green technologies and new business models are disrupting more markets, and green policies are reshaping economic landscapes. As such, greening a country’s economy is becoming a decisive factor in international competitiveness and the ability to attract international finance and investments.

The Western Balkans are no exception. Still characterized by a development model tilted toward familiar brown industries, moving toward a green growth pathway is far from easy, especially in the short term. Yet, the green transition offers significant opportunities for the Western Balkans – including closer integration into Euro-centric global value chains and access to significant EU resources to help fund a green transition.

Effectively managing this green transition, including the many policy tradeoffs, will need to be a core focus of policy attention for the Western Balkans in the years ahead.

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Montenegro on Course for Stronger Economic Recovery in 2021

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The Western Balkans region is rebounding from the COVID-19-induced recession of 2020, thanks to a faster-than-expected recovery in 2021, says the latest edition of the Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, Greening the Recovery.

The outlook for the region has improved significantly, with GDP growth now projected to reach 5.9 percent in 2021, after a 3.1 percent contraction in 2020. Growth in the region is projected at 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3.8 percent in 2023.

Driven by a rapid recovery in tourism, Montenegro’s economy is projected to rebound strongly by an estimated 10.8 percent in 2021, the highest rate among the six Western Balkan countries. Strong peak summer season has supported a rebound in tourism revenues, which are likely to reach close to 75 percent of their 2019 levels, from 55 percent previously estimated.

The rebound of economic activity has boosted government revenues, which coupled with careful fiscal management have led to a reduction in fiscal deficit from 11 percent of GDP in 2020 to an estimated 4 percent in 2021. Maintaining fiscal prudence in the medium term will be critical, as uncertainties loom.

“The economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be a source of uncertainty, but also presents an opportunity for Montenegro to ensure a resilient, inclusive, and green post-pandemic recovery,” says Christopher Sheldon, World Bank Country Manager for Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro. “The World Bank is committed to helping Montenegro implement reforms that can help ensure macroeconomic stability, create economic opportunities, and spur strong private-sector led growth”.

The report finds that unemployment in Montenegro remains high as the recovery has not ignited the labor market yet, which limits the pace of resumed poverty reduction. Poverty is projected to decline slowly in 2021, but it remains higher than its 2019 level.

The poverty rate for the region is projected to resume its pre-pandemic downward trend and fall by around 1 percentage point to 20.3 percent, close to its 2019 level.

The regionwide recovery is due to strength in both domestic and external demand. A sharp rebound in domestic consumption and in travel across Europe helped boost remittances as well as tourism inflows during the 2021 peak summer season. A strong recovery in advanced economies also provided a boost to demand for the region’s exports.

However, the recovery remains fragile. Early warning signals from the labor market call for close policy attention. Job losses from the recession and its aftermath have disproportionately affected women and youth, which may set back efforts to raise the region’s perennially low rates of labor force participation. Youth unemployment rose to 37.7 percent in 2021, up 5.4 percentage points from June 2020, further worsening youth employment prospects.

“As the Western Balkans countries look to a post-pandemic future, their policy approach will need to focus on addressing key impediments to job creation and economic transformation, including green transition,” said Linda Van Gelder, World Bank Country Director for the Western Balkans. “All six countries would benefit from reforms in the business environment, governance, and digitalization, which would contribute to growth and close the gap with EU countries.”

The report also looks at the macro-fiscal challenges and drivers of greening the region’s growth. The Western Balkans now find themselves at a key decision point regarding the impending green transition.

Global strides toward climate action are causing fundamental changes in society. Consumer and investor preferences are shifting, green technologies and new business models are disrupting more markets, and green policies are reshaping economic landscapes. As such, greening a country’s economy is becoming a decisive factor in international competitiveness and the ability to attract international finance and investments.

The Western Balkans are no exception. Still characterized by a development model tilted toward familiar brown industries, moving toward a green growth pathway is far from easy, especially in the short term. Yet, the green transition offers significant opportunities for the Western Balkans – including closer integration into Euro-centric global value chains and access to significant EU resources to help fund a green transition.

Effectively managing this green transition, including the many policy tradeoffs, will need to be a core focus of policy attention for the Western Balkans in the years ahead.

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Finance

North Macedonia’s Growth Projected Higher, but Economy Still Faces Risks

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macedonia

The Western Balkans region is rebounding from the COVID-19-induced recession of 2020, thanks to a faster-than-expected recovery in 2021, says the latest edition of the Western Balkans Regular Economic Report, Greening the Recovery.

The outlook for the region has improved significantly, with GDP growth now projected to reach 5.9 percent in 2021, after a 3.1 percent contraction in 2020. Growth in the region is projected at 4.1 percent in 2022 and 3.8 percent in 2023.

The poverty rate for the region is projected to resume its pre-pandemic downward trend and fall by around 1 percentage point to 20.3 percent, close to its 2019 level.

The regionwide recovery is due to strength in both domestic and external demand. A sharp rebound in domestic consumption and in travel across Europe helped boost remittances as well as tourism inflows during the 2021 peak summer season. A strong recovery in advanced economies also provided a boost to demand for the region’s exports.

For North Macedonia, this translates into a growth projection of 4.6 percent for 2021, much higher than the forecast in spring. “This positive outlook is still surrounded by downside risks, with the pace of immunization low and supply chains still disrupted, while financial conditions have started tightening,” said Massimiliano Paolucci, World Bank Country Manager for North Macedonia and Kosovo.

However, the recovery remains fragile. Early warning signals from the labor market call for close policy attention. Job losses from the recession and its aftermath have disproportionately affected women and youth, which may set back efforts to raise the region’s perennially low rates of labor force participation. Youth unemployment rose to 37.7 percent in 2021, up 5.4 percentage points from June 2020, further worsening youth employment prospects.

“As the Western Balkans countries look to a post-pandemic future, their policy approach will need to focus on addressing key impediments to job creation and economic transformation, including green transition,” said Linda Van Gelder, World Bank Regional Director for the Western Balkans. “All six countries would benefit from reforms in the business environment, governance, and digitalization, which would contribute to growth and close the gap with EU countries.”

The report also looks at the macro-fiscal challenges and drivers of greening the region’s growth. The Western Balkans now find themselves at a key decision point regarding the impending green transition.

Global strides toward climate action are causing fundamental changes in society. Consumer and investor preferences are shifting, green technologies and new business models are disrupting more markets, and green policies are reshaping economic landscapes. As such, greening a country’s economy is becoming a decisive factor in international competitiveness and the ability to attract international finance and investments.

The Western Balkans are no exception. Still characterized by a development model tilted toward familiar brown industries, moving toward a green growth pathway is far from easy, especially in the short term. Yet, the green transition offers significant opportunities for the Western Balkans – including closer integration into Euro-centric global value chains and access to significant EU resources to help fund a green transition.

Effectively managing this green transition, including the many policy tradeoffs, will need to be a core focus of policy attention for the Western Balkans in the years ahead.

Continue Reading

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