A new World Bank report provides policy recommendations for Uzbekistan on how to boost foreign direct investment (FDI) and create new sources of economic growth. The study, released recently, will contribute to the preparation of the country’s new FDI strategy in support of its development goals over the next five years.
Recommendations for a National FDI Strategy and Roadmap for Uzbekistan: New Sources of Growth comes at an important time for the government of Uzbekistan, which has recently launched the National Development Strategy for 2022-2026, outlining key transformational priorities to accelerate the country’s economic growth. Among the Strategy’s main goals is attracting $5 billion in FDI on an annual basis.
“We hope that this new report will serve as an important foundation for government agencies responsible for developing the national strategy for attracting, facilitating, retaining and expanding FDI over the next five years. We also hope that the roadmap identified in the report will help unlock new sources of growth in critical sectors,” said Marco Mantovanelli, World Bank Country Manager for Uzbekistan.
The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the war in Ukraine, and shifts in global production patterns have changed how multinational corporations think about their global investment strategies. In this context, the World Bank report offers a strategic vision and specific objectives for Uzbekistan on attracting FDI, identifies sectors with high growth potential for FDI attraction, and proposes an ambitious reform program to help maximize the contribution of FDI to the country’s overall economic development goals.
The combination of Uzbekistan’s ambitious forward-looking goals and analysis of its historical FDI performance demonstrates an urgent need to attract more and higher quality FDI sourced from advanced countries, particularly in more complex and knowledge-intensive sectors. Attracting additional FDI can contribute to increasing the performance of domestic firms, addressing critical gaps in innovation, enhancing global value chain participation, and creating higher skilled employment opportunities for Uzbekistan’s citizens.
The report outlines a set of critical reform areas to further strengthen the country’s competitiveness to attract high quality investments. Leveraging the government’s past successful reform programs aimed at improving Uzbekistan’s investment climate, the report proposes key priority areas for future reforms including the following:
Modernizing investment legislation; streamlining investment incentives; enhancing the investment climate in priority sectors; strengthening investment promotion, including related institutions and processes; and leveraging the full potential of SOEs privatization and public-private partnerships (PPPs) for FDI attraction. To facilitate effective reform implementation, the report offers a detailed implementation plan and roadmap to achieve concrete results.
The report is part of a larger effort by the World Bank Group to encourage private sector-led growth, investment, and cross-border trade in Uzbekistan.
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No enterprise could thrive without key players, who typically operate out of the public eye. A strong group of winners is the essential ingredient in every winning formula. With the entrepreneur’s help, they’ll make the dream a reality. Hiring the right team is critical to any business, but especially for a startup, as they will be responsible for translating the founder’s goals and putting them into action. Whether or not your “best-laid ideas” succeed or fail depends on the team’s ability to implement them. They aid in creating the company’s character, keep morale up, and shield you from the inevitable lows. Find a programmer who can help your organization fulfill its future vision. Businesspeople without specialized training may find these challenges insurmountable. You could have looked high and low for advice on hiring a developer for your startup, but finding beneficial results is a challenge every time.
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Due to the vast number of options available, it might be challenging to get the knowledge necessary to discover how to find a developer for your startup company. You may feel like you’re wasting your time and must rush through the procedure steps at some point. It leads you to prioritize availability over skill when hiring a developer. One needs to refrain from engaging in this behavior for as long as it is reasonably possible. As a founder, you must commit to your search and trust the hiring process. Not only will the developer you bring on board have input regarding the more technical components of your product, but they will also have input regarding the overall mindset of your organization.
Before employing a professional outsourcing staff, it is essential to ensure that you get all your questions answered, make accurate comparisons, and discuss all relevant facts. Be confident that the developer you hire possesses the necessary technical expertise and interpersonal traits congruent with your company’s values. It is highly recommended that you devote a significant time to search for and conduct interviews with possible candidates. You shouldn’t be in a rush to recruit a developer; instead, you should focus more on your search process and find a developer who is the perfect fit for your business.
There are many different kinds of tasks that might assist you in deciding whether or not a prospect is worth hiring. It comes with the technical interview and coding assignment that make up most of the hard skills evaluation. The former evaluates a candidate based on how well they comprehend the content of their chosen field. The second option gives potential employers access to their coding expertise. You can proceed with the final interview if a developer possesses the necessary technical skills. The success or failure of your company hangs in the balance of the coders’ efforts. Make a deliberate and well-thought-out choice rather than acting on impulse. Hiring engineers for your startup will be less of a guessing game the more data you have at your disposal.
Trade growth is expected to lose momentum in the second half of this year and remain subdued in 2023, as the global economy sustains multiple shocks, such as ripple effects from the war in Ukraine, the latest forecast from the World Trade Organization (WTO) has revealed. The UN partner agency has cautioned against imposing trade restrictions which would ultimately result in slower growth and lower living standards.
Global merchandise trade volume is estimated to grow 3.5 per cent in 2022, or slightly better than the 3.0 per cent anticipated in April.
However, volume will slow to 1 per cent next year, a sharp decline from the 3.4 per cent previously estimated.
Demand for imports is expected to weaken as growth slows in major economies for different reasons, WTO said.
In Europe, high energy prices resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine will squeeze household spending and raise manufacturing costs.
In the United States, monetary policy tightening will affect spending in areas where interest rates count, such as housing, motor vehicles and fixed investments.
China also continues to struggle with COVID-19 outbreaks and production disruptions coupled with weak external demand.
Meanwhile, developing countries could face food insecurity and debt distress as import bills for fuels, food and fertilizers rise: another impact from the war in Ukraine.
Overall, energy prices jumped 78 per cent year-on-year in August, according to the forecast. Food prices increased 11 per cent, grain prices were up 15 per cent and fertilizer 60 per cent.
Many currencies have also fallen against the dollar in recent months, another factor that is making food and fuel more expensive.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the WTO Director-General, said policymakers face “unenviable choices” as they try to find an optimal balance among tackling inflation, maintaining full employment, and advancing important goals such as transitioning to clean energy,
She underscored how trade is a vital tool – both for enhancing the global supply of goods and services, as well as for lowering the cost to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.
“While trade restrictions may be a tempting response to the supply vulnerabilities that have been exposed by the shocks of the past two years, a retrenchment of global supply chains would only deepen inflationary pressures, leading to slower economic growth and reduced living standards over time,” she said.
“What we need is a deeper, more diversified and less concentrated base for producing goods and services. In addition to boosting economic growth, this would contribute to supply resilience and long-term price stability by mitigating exposure to extreme weather events and other localized disruptions.”
WTO said the Middle East will have the strongest export growth of any region this year, 14.6 per cent, followed by Africa, North America, Asia, Europe, and South America.
The region also had the fastest trade volume growth on the import side at 11.1 per cent.
While the Middle East and Africa should see small declines in exports in 2023, imports will remain strong.
The new forecast, released on Wednesday, revises estimates published in April, or just weeks after the start of the war in Ukraine.
At the time, WTO economists had to rely on simulations for their projections, in the absence of hard data about the conflict’s impact.
The economies of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are expected to grow by 5.5% this year —the fastest rate since 2016—followed by a slowing of growth to 3.5% in 2023. Yet this growth is uneven across the region, as countries, still struggling to overcome the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, face jolting new shocks from higher oil and food prices brought on by the war in Ukraine, rising global interest rates, and slowdowns in the United States, China, and the Euro area.
The World Bank’s latest economic update, titled “A New State of Mind: Greater Transparency and Accountability in the Middle East and North Africa,” finds that the region’s oil exporting countries are benefitting from high hydrocarbon prices, but oil importing nations confront different circumstances. Oil importers face heightened stress and risk from higher import bills, especially for food and energy, and tightening fiscal space as they spend more on price subsidies to cushion the pain of price rises on their populations.
“All countries in the MENA region will have to make adjustments to deal with significantly higher prices for food and other imports, especially if they lead to an increase in government borrowing or currency devaluations,” said Ferid Belhaj, World Bank Vice President for the MENA region. “What countries need now is smart governance to weather the storm and begin to rebuild after multiple shocks on top of the pandemic.”
Published twice-yearly, the report says that responsive governance will help countries confront these challenges more effectively now and cement the foundations for long term growth. Each MENA Economic Update has an area of special focus, and this report looks at how reforms leading to more transparency and accountability in public institutions can promote a sustainable economic recovery. Countries are in dire need of establishing systems that allow state bureaucracies to measure results, align responsibilities, experiment, and learn from these results.
“Moving towards greater data transparency and accountability is a game changer for the region; it can help countries identify what is working and needs improvement and to act on it,” said Roberta Gatti, World Bank Chief Economist for the MENA region. “It will help them manage risk and shape progress towards a more sustainable and inclusive future. Not only are the potential benefits large, but the reforms needed to put institutions on a learning path are within reach.“
The Bank’s analysis forecasts diverging paths of growth in the region. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are on track to grow by 6.9% in 2022, buoyed by high hydrocarbon earnings, slowing to 3.7% in 2023 as hydrocarbon prices subside. Developing oil exporters are forecast to experience trends like those of the GCC but at lower levels—with 2022 growth expected to increase to 4.1%, led by Iraq, before falling back to 2.7% in 2023. Developing oil importing countries are expected to grow by 4.5% in 2022 and 4.3% in 2023. However, the slowdown of growth in Europe poses a particular risk, as this group of countries relies more on trade with the Euro area—especially the North African oil importers closest to Europe: Tunisia, Morocco, and Egypt.
Across the region, policymakers have introduced measures—especially price controls and subsidies—to make the domestic price of certain goods, such as food and energy, lower than the global price. The report finds that this has had the effect of keeping inflation in MENA lower than in other regions. In Egypt, for example, average year-on-year inflation during the period of March to July 2022 was 14.3%, but it would have been 4.1 percentage points higher at 18.4%, had authorities not intervened.
Some governments have made cash payments to poorer households—a more efficient way of helping the poor deal with rising prices than general market subsidies that lower prices for everyone, including the rich. For Egypt, to lower average inflation by the equivalent of 4.1 percentage points using a subsidy on food and energy prices that benefits the entire population costs 13.2 times more than allowing prices to increase and supporting just the poorest 10 percent of households with a cash transfer.
Governments will incur additional expenses as they increase subsidies and cash transfers to mitigate the damage to the living standards of their populations from higher food and energy prices. For the GCC and developing oil-exporting countries, this is not of much concern now. Windfall increases in state revenues from the rise in hydrocarbon prices have greatly increased their fiscal space and will result in fiscal surpluses for most oil exporters in 2022—even after the additional spending on inflation mitigation programs.
Developing oil importers, however, do not have such a windfall and will have to cut other expenditures, find new revenues, or increase deficits and debt to fund the inflation mitigation programs and any other additional spending. Moreover, as global interest rates rise, the debt service burden for oil importers will increase, as they must pay a higher rate of interest both on any new debt they incur and existing debt they refinance, weighing on countries’ debt sustainability over time—especially for countries with already high debt levels, such as Jordan, Tunisia, and Egypt.
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