Connect with us

Economy

Accelerating Growth and Job Creation with a Better Business Environment

Published

on

city business

Before taking up my role as the Resident Representative of the World Bank in Jamaica, I was posted in Tbilisi in Georgia, located at the intersection of Eastern Europe and Western Asia. Georgia, a small country with a population of 3.7 million people, has made sweeping economic reforms. It moved from a near-failed state in 2003 to a relatively well-functioning market economy when I moved there in 2016. This was achieved by significant policy and institutional reforms, including combatting corruption, amendments to labor and tax codes, and deep business regulation reforms. These investment climate initiatives were accompanied by interventions in healthcare, public administration and the justice system. 

Georgia has been praised as a ‘top reformer’ and rose in prominent international rankings such as Ease of Doing Business and the Transparency Corruption Perception index. In fact, the country entered the top 25 of the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business ranking in 2008 and rose to 6th in the world in 2019. 

Jamaica has set out to achieve a similarly ambitious agenda to become Top 10 in the world in the Ease of Doing Business rankings. To achieve this, the National Competitiveness Council, Planning Institute of Jamaica, Jamaica Promotions Corporation, and other organizations are working together to make it easier to conduct business in Jamaica.

This is an ambitious challenge, but as the example of Georgia has shown, it is attainable when well-prioritized and coordinated foundational work for growth and competitiveness is advanced. Punching above weight, breaking records, and impressive recovery appears to be in Jamaica’s DNA, as the country has persevered after many challenges and has come back stronger. That is why we at the World Bank have been supporting Jamaica on this very ambitious agenda of business climate reforms since 2014 under the Foundations for Competitiveness and Growth agenda, with financing of US$50 million.  

While there has been steady progress in improving Jamaica’s business climate, there is still much work to be done if the engine of growth is expected to be a competitive, innovative, and thriving private sector. Establishing an effective business environment, and incentives to foster private and public collaboration and linkages, are important elements to fostering economic success. 

Laying the Foundations for Growth and Competitiveness

Recently the World Bank provided additional financing of US$10 million for the Foundations for Growth and Competitiveness Project. These funds will build upon the work being done by the Government to remove bottlenecks in several critical areas that restrict business success and to support initiatives that foster a private sector-led recovery. Since 2014, we have helped strengthen the business environment in Jamaica and provided more direct benefits, in the form of credit lines and grants, to private sector companies. 

The additional financing for the Foundations for Growth and Competitiveness initiative is expected to have both short-term effects as well as longer-term impact. For example, firms will soon benefit from faster debt resolution due to improved insolvency frameworks and online mediation. In the future, there will be other legislative, regulatory and institutional reforms that are intended to create an enabling environment for the private sector growth.

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a part of the World Bank Group, is working in parallel to support other reform areas, such as implementing electronic land titles and creating efficiencies in land transactions.  

Public Sector as the enabler of investments and innovation

But a ‘21st century’ private sector needs a ‘21st century’ public sector with enabling Government policies, strong institutions, and efficient public goods and services. Government and its agencies play a key role in creating this environment in which the private sector can thrive, create jobs, and support poverty alleviation. Thus, a key feature of such an environment is developing strong institutions that implement, oversee, and regulate policies. 

That is why the World Bank is also working with the Government on a complementary initiative to support critical public sector institutions, that serve the private sector and citizens, to enhance their services. Under the Strategic Public Sector Transformation initiative, the World Bank is working closely with critical public sector agencies, such as the Bureau of Standards Jamaica (BSJ) and the newly-established National Compliance and Regulatory Authority (NCRA), to upgrade services provided to the private sector. Work is also being done to establish a National Quality Infrastructure, that enhances trade facilitation and industry growth while protecting the health and safety of the Jamaican people. Progress is also being made in other critical areas, such as customs, to ease trading across borders in Jamaica. 

Economic Growth for All

Some may question the need to push forward on these initiatives with all of the other competing priorities caused by the pandemic. However, Jamaica’s growth model has to be private sector driven, and while facing the crisis, the private sector has continued its role to push for transformation and innovation. I saw firsthand how companies held on to their employees as long as they could while innovating on their delivery models for their customers during the pandemic.

A strong investment climate generates economic growth, employment and can result in a more resilient recovery where the benefits of growth will reach the most vulnerable among the population. Ensuring that the country’s business climate is enabling for investments, production and innovation is a key foundation for growth and competitiveness of Jamaica. With these priorities at a clear line of sight, and unwavering follow through on ambitious reforms, Jamaica has the potential to not only be hailed as a ‘top reformer’, just as Georgia was, but move on to be a ‘top performer’ on growth, poverty alleviation, and shared prosperity. 

World Bank

Ozan Sevimli is the Resident Representative of the World Bank for Jamaica and Guyana.

Continue Reading
Comments

Economy

Future of Work: Next Election Agenda 2022

Published

on

During the last millennia, never ever before did the global populace ended up inside one single test tube? Observe, the commonality of the pandemic problems, nation-by-nation, city-by-city and person-by-person how  simultaneously and harmoniously the sufferings spread out arousing questions, forcing new thinking on global focalism demanding new alternates for losing faith in institutions and their own governments and economic models.

Every few decades, now and then, there have been many similar shifts of continental restlessness but never ever on such an entire global scale with so many identical similarities. Ignoring this global behavior by national leaderships will become a big jolt in time. Now Covidians; pandemic experienced fighters and survivors of body bags, sufferers of isolation, quarantine, or occupational displacement replacement, and misplacement now harmoniously they are calling out…aloud.

The world may hear their callings; listening is now for the national leaderships:  The global populace today is far more knowledgeable about what current political punditry capable of measuring and alternately prefers using dog-whistle rhetoric to score points on tribalism. If there are some 200 nations, some 10,000 cites, there are also some 100 national elections scheduled within the next 500 days… national leadership must demonstrate their literacy to read futurism. Identify their local teams with the right expertise to address national challenges, urgently respond with right answers, and develop clear narrative to address realities.

Here are some cold facts and some warm realities.

The New World: The post pandemic vaccinated ‘world’ would be a dramatically different world; some 50% of the workers of the world may not return. Some 50% of big and small businesses simply may never open and some 50% of “business + real estate + education + travel + consumption” models may change forever. The behavioral economical impact may linger for decades. So what will happen?

The New Economies: The Post pandemic ‘economies’ will be dramatically different; before the pandemic, in slow motion, the middle class economies the western world systematically destroyed, now current cycles making the upper gatekeepers of the cash flow many, many times stronger and the bottom feeders many, many times weaker. The wide chasms will create divides, force new thinking. So what will happen?

The New Technologies: The post pandemic ‘technology’ will morph the new world with new speed; execution and deployments in all directions, because the top layers of wealth have now all the required budgets powers and skills far more greater than what their own national leaderships can ever handle. National leaderships must demonstrate enough skills or obediently become Oligaristan and take orders.  Observe how many big and small countries already trapped like this today. The future is also about global-age speed. Such global scale transformation would be comparable to when ‘horses’ were replaced by ‘trains’ but it took over a century. This time such styles of behavioral transformations will happen just one afternoon. Like a switch, either you are in or out. Humanly adjustments will create shocks strong enough to slowly crack open the mind to face the new truth.

The New Future of Work:

Observe the hyper-accelerated advancements of technologies around the world and deduce how within this decade it will easily eliminate all physical involvement of humans from daily ‘work’. The human body, physicality and muscularity, the hands, feet, pushing, lifting, moving, stuffing, all taken over by technology and thus leaving humankind all alone, segregated, isolated as an advanced specimen of unique experiences and sufferings no matter how fallible the outcome becomes but left only  to ‘think’.What will happen next when the global populace becomes “thinker-gatherers”?

Occupationalism: in search of new definitions and meanings on the future of work: The centuries old 9-5 model morphing into a 24x7x365 virtually alive model.  Banned, should be commuting and cubical-slavery as inhumane, a new world of efficient-productivity and respectful occupationalism arises. Is now the time to get rid of HR as a fake abstract power of pushing and channeling human bodies in bureaucratic mazes rather uplifting to entrepreneurial adventures and global-age performances? Is this time to throw away mismatch-business-titles and find real experienced tactically trained coaches and experts to reorganize business models, where superior performances to compete on global stages become the basic platform of the enterprises?

If the vaccinated world is a few years away, the normality of economies still decade away. Stop currency-printing presses as without productivity nations start looking like dominos lined up for a fall. Now survival is not money but real performances on real value creation and not value-manipulations.

Election Agendas: only smart Leaderships will create smart economies: Rejuvenation of a nation only achieved with grassroots prosperity resulting in socio-economic-cultural progress, able to strive dreams to create harmony. No, this is not a Normal Rockwell’s canvas, this is an awakening reality; where hungry for honest work for honest living and starved for respectable occupation on principles of common good, screaming in silence is the global populace. Are the national leaderships ready to hear this low frequency calling.

Unlimited printing of currencies will never save economies; It is the upskilling of citizens and reskilling of small and medium businesses and mini-micro-medium manufacturing intensely deployed to catch up the skills gaps lost during the last many decades. Only possible when all national agencies already mandated to foster economic growth reflect appreciation and equally all trade groups, associations, chambers type related bodies have the necessary skills to articulate and practice in such specialized arenas. A new global map of economy is emerging, calling new expertise.

Primarily, pandemic recovery also taught us new global-age mantra; “Constant learning, constant disruption, constant advancements, constant dialogues” All moving in simultaneous synchronization and with collaborative engagements for common good, all designed for all to grow together, hence, now new definitions urgently required;

Key Questions: Are cities and national regions ready for national mobilization of entrepreneurialism?  Are national Chambers and associations in agreement on upskilling small medium enterprises? Is there a national agenda to quadruple innovative excellence and exportability?  How skilled are local leaderships of agencies on such national-global deployments? How fast-track upskilling will add digital-mindedness and create quality exports centricity? How simultaneous synchronization uplifts upskill 1000 to 100,000 SME on a fast track basis? How these issues are not new funding hungry, they are execution starved, and so what is stopping?  How a national umbrella created via Live Roundtable discussions and streamed to 100,000 stakeholders?
Stillness is death: How continuous disruption brings perpetual life to enterprises.  How continuous optimization of self-discovery achieves new heights? How does continuous quality production open global doors on exportability?“Allow Million qualified foreign entrepreneurs to park within your nation for 5-10 years under a special full tax-free visa and stay program. Which nations have qualified dialogue on such affairs? Observe how hard, during the last two decades, nations across the world have tried incubators; today, mostly empty real estate projects. Governments and Academia were unable to create entrepreneurialism; however, the same governments created great armies. Trained to dig trenches in rain and sleep in open fields, they developed great officers, but not by drawing pictures of tanks on white boards or running around with water pistols in the classrooms. Bring in, land million entrepreneurs in your nation, and create 10 million plus jobs and new wealth in following years. Let your own institutions and frontline management learn how such economic developments created.  Be bold, as the time to strategize passed now time to revolutionize has arrived”. “Excerpted from keynote lecture by Naseem Javed, Global Citizen Forum, Dubai, 2013.”

Now, reading the new trade winds: Allowmicro-small-medium enterprises a tax-free window on the first USD$5-10 million revenues in exports, this will create local jobs and bring foreign exchange. Allow National Mobilization of Entrepreneurialism Protocols mandated to engage trade and exports bodies. AllowNational Scoring of entrepreneurialism to measure, differentiate talents, and separate pretenders. Allowmicro-small-medium enterprises free access to all dormant Intellectual Property, Patents rolled up due to lack of commercialization as Academic Experts on innovative technologies and related skills on free voucher programs.

The astonishing new math in commerce today: AUS$1000, investment in technology buys digital solutions, which were million dollars, a decade ago. A $1000 investment buys on global-age upskilling on export expansion that were million dollars a decade ago. A $1000 investment on virtual-events buys what took a year and cost a million dollar a decade ago. Today, any micro-small-medium-enterprise capable of remote working models can save 80% of office and bureaucratic costs and suddenly operate like a mini-multi-national with little or no additional costs.

Now, the urgency demands qualified execution; Success at times is failure management; failure is often about a lost battle, but not about a lost war, the ultimate success is not necessarily about winning a war, success more about understanding of the battlefield, as the real victory hidden outside the war.

Observe the nations of the world; are they real countries when their own constitution stays framed but not followed?  Are they real nations when they have laws but no rules? Are they countries when they have national borders without any protections? Are they nations where they produce no real goods of any real value? Are they nations when they have shining economies that produce no real value creation or grassroots prosperities? Are they just open fields where people assembled seeking some latter day miracle? Are they some special grand schemed land projects serving special interests? The global populace now needs to clarify. A united and collaborative world needs new definitions of global maps and nations as the global populace seeks global common good to face the future.

Summary: Covidians are smarter as their sufferings have now influenced new global mindshare. The biggest ever loss to any nation today is ignoring untapped hidden talents of its citizenry, uplifting, upskilling and reskilling will save nations. This is an advanced intellectualism on human productivity, performances and creating real-value-creation, not to be confused with current techno-corrupt pamphlets based on crypto-economic ignoring human work over artificial intelligence and robotization. In response to such urgencies, Expothon Worldwide relentless in pursuit and authoritative in action is tabling a special “high-level-global-debate-series” via virtual events in coming months.  Key players and gatekeepers from various countries, ready to highlight their talents and wisdom on such grassroots economic development frontiers should contact with some details. Save your own nations and study more on Google.

The rest is easy

Continue Reading

Economy

Bringing cultural and creative industries back in the game

Published

on

The lockdown and social exclusion interventions have highlighted the value of arts and culture for people’s mental wellbeing – and, likely, health, due to the increasingly recorded psychosomatic effects of cultural access. But their benefits do not stop there. In terms of economic impact and jobs, the cultural and creative fields are important in and of themselves. They encourage creativity all around the economy and lead without any doubt to a variety of other socially beneficial networks, such as education, inclusion, urban regeneration just to name a few. Despite their vital role in our societies, culture and creatives industries are among the hardest hit since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, with major cities also having the highest concentration of work openings.

In these unprecedented times, with multiple crisis emerging almost on a daily basis, one after another, people – and local actors are for most, all round the world, turning to public support, desperately hoping for strong actions. Economy recovery plans announced by governments have been a first very encouraging sign. But despite all efforts, following a review of the overall landscape of the cultural sector across the globe, policies to help businesses and employees during the pandemic may not be well-suited to the sector’s non-traditional business models and modes of employment. Policies should harness the economic and social impacts of culture in their wider recovery packages and efforts to transform local economies, in addition to short-term funding for artists and businesses from both the public and private sectors.

According to the OECD report ‘’Culture shock: COVID-19 and the cultural and creative sectors’’, Cultural and Creative Sectors (CCS),including tourism, are among the most impacted by the present situation, with job losses varying from 0.8 to 5.5 percent of total employment across the creatives sector. It has been witnessed that social distancing policies have the greatest impact on venues-based industries (such as museums, performing arts, live music, concerts, cinema, and so on). The sudden decline in sales has put their financial stability in jeopardy, resulting in lower-wage earnings and layoffs, with ramifications for their suppliers’ value chain, both innovative and non-creative.

Because of a variety of factors, the consequences can last a long time. In the coming months, if not years, the effects of the recession and a decline in cultural sector investment might have an impact on the development of cultural products and services, as well as their diversity. Lower levels of international and domestic tourism, a drop in purchasing power, and reductions to public and private funds for arts and culture, especially at the local level, may accelerate this worrying growth in the medium term. And unfortunately, this is only the tip of the iceberg.

And it goes without saying that the downsizing of cultural and artistic industries would have a detrimental effect on cities and regions in terms of employment and revenues, levels of innovation, public well-being, and the richness and inclusion of communities in the absence of responsive public funding and recovery strategies. This though is inspiring dread. With vaccination programs promising us to get our ‘’normal lives” back in a near future, can we imagine actually living in a place with less theatres, less museums, less creativity? At a time when some major cultural institutions are on the verge of bankruptcy, having to choose between keeping their loyal employees or selling a master piece, this horror script is closer than ever. On top of that, the crisis has brought to light the financial vulnerability of some of the sector’s producers. Indeed, microbusinesses, non-profit organizations, and artistic practitioners make up the majority of the cultural and creative industries, which are frequently on the edge of financial viability. For the provision of innovative goods and services, broad public and private cultural institutions and companies depend on this diverse cultural ecosystem.

The dysfunctionality of public assistance programs that are inadequately applied to cultural and creative sectors business models and job opportunities has created more trouble for this sector. In view of the pandemic, national and local governments around the world have indeed adopted a slew of initiatives to support workers and companies, but many of them, especially those not aimed at CCS, are unsuited to the industry’s peculiarities. Jobs and state benefits programs are not always available or tailored to the modern and non-standard types of work that are more unstable and prevalent in the CCS. And this is how we fail at bringing back to life such a vital sector. From an economic point of view, but also societal.

But there is hope. There are solutions. Proposals. Specific policies, targeting the core of the problem, can be implemented at corporate and government level to enhance the cultural sector’s growth. Indeed, first of all, both private and public sectors need to work hands in hands if we want to give a chance to the creative industries to recover from this pandemic, and be part of the global recovery we are all craving for. In the short term, it should be made sure at government level that public support for COVID-19 relief does not discriminate against cultural and creative sector businesses and employees because of their non-traditional business models and job contracts. Furthermore, initiatives shall be taken to increase the effectiveness of policy initiatives, CCS network organizations, self-employed workers, small cultural and innovative enterprises, and sectoral employer organizations were consulted. By simplifying eligibility requirements and making them open to hybrid types of jobs, gaps in self-employment support systems can be filled. In addition, non-profit organizations should be included in funding programs aimed at helping small companies retain workers along with assurances that the funding for cultural organizations exceeds artifacts. On the medium and long term, private and government bodies should promote greater complementarities between culture and other policy sectors. For instance, advances in the cultural and creative sectors can also benefit education, especially in the use of new digital tools based on gaming technology for example and new forms of cultural material. Greater collaboration between health care and the cultural and artistic sectors will help to enhance well-being, prevent disease, or postpone its occurrence, encourage the development of healthier behaviors, and prevent social isolation. Development of new local cultural tourism strategies that resolve several large-scale or intensive tour operators’ socially and environmentally unsustainable practices. There is indeed a very wide range of possibilities. Endless possibilities within our reach. The potential is unlimited if only we decide to seriously consider it.

Continue Reading

Economy

Innovative ways to resume international travel

Published

on

International travel was predictably impacted as a result of covid 19 and the tourism industry suffered severe losses.

According to the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism organization) barometer, the period from January-October 2020 witnessed a whopping 72% drop in tourist arrivals (international tourist arrivals dropped by 900 Million when compared to the January-October 2019 period). The loss in export revenues, year on year, from the tourist sector were a staggering 945 Billion USD. Tourist arrivals across regions witnessed a drop. According to the UNWTO barometer, the drop in tourism would cause a loss of 2 Trillion USD to the global economy.

Countries looking to resume international flights

During the midst of the pandemic, agreements were signed to facilitate essential travel between various countries (priority was given to workers, students or individuals who had to travel for emergency purposes).

Countries which have been successful in dealing with the pandemic have been looking to gradually resume international flights. Since October 2020, Singapore whose economy is significantly dependent upon tourism  had signed agreements with certain countries to ensure that travel for important purposes was less restrictive — either the quarantine period was reduced, or in some cases was not required at all.

New Zealand will be allowing quarantine free travel from Australia for the first time from April 19. New Zealand PM, Jacinda Ardern:

‘The Trans-Tasman travel bubble represents a start of a new chapter in our COVID response and recovery, one that people have worked so hard at’

Australia has been permitting travellers from New Zealand to enter most parts of the country without quarantine, though this has not been reciprocated.

A travel bubble has also opened between Taiwan (which has reported a little over 1,000 cases and 10 deaths) and the Island of Palau (which has reported 0 deaths) where travellers need not quarantine themselves (there are a number of other restrictions though).

Vaccine Passports, Digital Pass and differing perspectives

As countries get ready to open up travel, there has been a debate with regard to using ‘vaccine passports’ (these are documents which show that travellers have been vaccinated against Covid-19 or recently tested negative for the virus).

One country which is using this experiment domestically is Israel. It has issued a document known as ‘Green Pass’ to those who have been vaccinated or if they have developed immunity. This Green Pass can be used  for entry into gyms, hotels,  restaurants and theatres. The UK and US too are mooting the idea of introducing such an arrangement. This idea has faced fervent opposition in both countries. In UK, opposition parties Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Scottish National Party (SNP) have opposed the idea of such a covid certification document. The reasons cited for opposition are concerns with regard to ‘equity, ethics and privacy’.  The UK government has stated that a covid status certificate would not be introduced before June, and trials of various schemes to ensure safe opening up of the UK economy would carry on.

In the US, Republicans are opposing the idea of a vaccine passport saying that such an idea would be an attack on personal freedoms. Donald Trump’s son Donald Trump Jr urged Republicans to ‘vocally and aggressively’ stand up against vaccine passports.

If one were to look at international travel, International Airport Transport Association (IATA) has introduced a travel pass, a digital certificate, which will confirm a flyer’s COVID-19 test result and vaccination status. Singapore will be accepting travellers using this mobile digital pass from May 2021.While the pass has been tested by Singapore Airlines, 20 airlines (including Emirates and Malaysia Airlines) are in the process of testing the pass.

While one of the pitfalls of a covid status certificate or Vaccine passport is the impingement upon privacy, it has also been argued that developing countries will be at a disadvantage given the relatively slow rate of vaccination in the developing world. While remarking in the context of Africa,Dr. John Nkengasong the head of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said:

‘We are already in a situation where we don’t have vaccines, and it will be extremely unfortunate that countries impose a travel requirement of immunization certificates whereas the rest of the world has not had the chance to have access to vaccines.’

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is important for innovative ways to resume international travel. Safety needs to be balanced with equity, for this it is imperative that all actors engage in a constructive manner. A number of observers have suggested that vaccine passports/covid status certificates should be made optional, and that there is nothing wrong in using technology per se but it should not be thrust on anyone. The fight against the pandemic and revival of international travel are a golden opportunity for countries to reverse the increasing sense of insularity and inequity which has risen in recent years.

Continue Reading

Publications

Latest

Economy2 hours ago

Future of Work: Next Election Agenda 2022

During the last millennia, never ever before did the global populace ended up inside one single test tube? Observe, the...

Intelligence4 hours ago

COVID-19 As an Agent of Change in World Order

The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has claimed millions of lives. It has severely damaged the economy of the world....

Africa6 hours ago

Scaling Up Development Could Help Southern African leaders to Defeat Frequent Miltant Attacks

Leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are now considering, without foreign interference, tackling frequent insurgency devastating regional development,...

Middle East8 hours ago

Israel and Turkey in search of solutions

Twelve and eleven years have elapsed since the Davos and Mavi Marmara incidents, respectively, and Turkey-Israel relations are undergoing intense...

Eastern Europe10 hours ago

Peace, Problems and Perspectives in the Post-war South Caucasus

The Second Karabakh War ended with the signing of the trilateral declaration between Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia on November 10,...

Europe14 hours ago

Vienna Process: Minilateralism for the future of Europe and its strategic neighbourhood

On the historic date of March 08th – International Women’s Day, a large number of international affairs specialists gathered for...

Reports17 hours ago

Wide Variations in Post-COVID ‘Return to Normal’ Expectations

A new IPSOS/World Economic Forum survey found that almost 60% expect a return to pre-COVID normal within the next 12...

Trending