Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice

ABOUT US

The Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice meets growing demand for high-impact solutions that expand market opportunities, enable private initiative, and develop dynamic economies. Its country, regional, and global efforts help boost the volume and value of trade, enhance the investment climate, improve competitiveness in sectors, and foster innovation and entrepreneurship. This joint World Bank-International Finance Corporation (IFC) team of over 500 staff offers world-class technical expertise, an extensive global footprint, and an updated business model. T&C's day-to-day business is characterized by intensive learning-by-doing, strong internal and external partnerships, and a focus on results. 

OUR APPROACH

Achieving the World Bank Group’s twin goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity depends on rapid, broad-based economic growth producing more and better jobs. Economic integration through trade and improved competitiveness is central to any effective development strategy. Governments, private firms, and international partners seek T&C’s help in finding solutions that deliver impact. T&C is responding with strengthened global, regional, and country engagements centered on private sector-led growth and jobs. The revamped Bank Group business model provides:

  • Cutting-edge knowledge and analytics.
  • Integrated delivery of advisory, financial, and convening services. 
  • Partnerships with multilateral, regional, and bilateral institutions, and with the private sector. 
  • A rigorous results management system

OUR PORTFOLIO

As of November 2016, the T&C portfolio features close to 102 projects, totaling $7.8 billion in IBRD/IDA lending (active and pipeline), and over 421 active Advisory Services Activities (ASA) (IFC and Bank) worth $417 million. T&C’s Reimbursable Advisory Services (RAS) active portfolio comprises 25 activities across 13 countries with an estimated value of approximately $16 million. 

AREAS OF WORK

Competitive Sectors | Cross-Cutting Topics | Trade | Investment Climate | Innovation and Entrepreneurship

Cross-Cutting Topics:

  • Global Value Chains
  • Green Competitiveness
  • Fragile and Conflict States
  • Connecting to Markets
     
Senior Management

Anabel Gonzalez

Senior Director





CONTACT US

Kristina Nwazota
Senior Communications Officer
knwazota@worldbank.org

TRADE

Increasing trade is key to ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Evidence shows that countries open to international trade tend to grow faster and provide more opportunities to their populations. The World Bank Group helps its client countries improve their access to developed country markets and enhance their participation in the world economy. On the global stage, the WBG supports an open, rules-based, predictable, international trading system.

Within the Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, there are three areas of focus.

ImageTrade Facilitation and Logistics

Why it matters:
Supporting the movement of goods and services between producers and consumers makes supply chains more efficient and reduces costs, red tape, and bottlenecks. To compete in the global economy, traders require seamless supply chains and infrastructure for logistics. Reducing trade costs – caused by inadequate infrastructure and supply chain bottlenecks – by half would raise global trade by an estimate 15 percent and global production by 5 percent.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group applies diagnostic tools and brings extensive global experience to help client governments understand where reforms and investments will have the greatest impact. We work in close partnership with key international and regional organizations to support trade facilitation and provide cutting edge diagnostic tools to help client governments identify where reforms and investments will have the greatest impact. The Logistics Performance Index, for example, provides data on the connectivity and logistics performance of 160 countries.

In Practice:
The World Bank Group has implemented more than 120 customs, border management and trade facilitation projects over the past 20 years that have improved the time required to import and export goods, making transactions more predictable. In Lao PDR the World Bank Group helped develop a national trade facilitation strategy, implement an automated trade information portal and an automated processing system covering 90% of all import and export transactions.

ImageTrade Competitiveness

Why it Matters:
Trade has taken on a central role in the development strategies of many countries, and trade policies play a major role in determining their competitiveness.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group helps governments design and implement policies to maximize their trade competitiveness in both goods and services. Our work aims to help governments reap the gains from openness to trade, regional integration, and to manage both adjustment costs and external shocks. We provide a suite of diagnostic tools, policy advice, and capacity building to help governments build a framework for improving their trade competitiveness.

In Practice:
An assessment of trade competitiveness in Pakistan informed World Bank Group-supported import tariff reform. This led to ongoing reforms to streamline the import tariff schedule.

ImageMaking Markets Work for Development through Effective Competition Policies

Why it Matters:
Even though many countries have opened to trade, markets in developing countries often underperform due to entry barriers, restrictive regulatory frameworks, and anticompetitive behavior by a few dominant players. Cartels and anti-competitive practices continue to increase prices for certain goods by at least 20%, despite 100 countries signing competition laws. The goods and services affected by anticompetitive practices are wide-ranging and include consumer staples (such as sugar and bread), critical financial services (including electronic payment systems and insurance), and key inputs (for instance, cement and fertilizer). These practices harm families, especially the poorest. Studies suggest that poverty could decline by at least 2 percent if anticompetitive regulations and practices were eliminated in a market for staples.

Our Approach:
To curb anticompetitive behavior, the World Bank Group advises client governments in pro-competition regulations and effective competition enforcement. We offer clients analytical and diagnostic products to supper implementation and advocate for competition reforms.

In Practice:
By promoting equal treatment for firms seeking to register for agriculture inputs, the World Bank Group helped Honduras more than triple the amount of products registered per year and decreased the prices of some pesticides by as much as 9 percent.


EXPERTS

José Guilherme Reis

Practice Manager




Contact Us

Kristina Nwazota
Senior Communications Officer
knwazota@worldbank.or

INVESTMENT CLIMATE

The World Bank Group provides evidence-based advisory services and support to help countries establish a competitive investment climate that is favorable for attracting, retaining and leveraging investment for business-led growth.

Why it Matters:
A vibrant private sector serves as the main driver of sustainable economic growth and employment. It is an important pathway out of poverty and towards shared prosperity. Yet, a large number of developing countries – particularly poor and conflict-affected states – have yet to fully harness their economic potential.

Our Approach:
By leveraging a comprehensive approach that addresses the legal, regulatory, procedural and institutional barriers affecting all phases of the investment and business lifecycle, our experts on Indicator Based Reform (IBR), Business Environment (BE), and Investment Policy & Promotion (IPP) deliver integrated IC solutions founded on three pillars:

  • Driving Evidence-Based Reform: Underpinning all our IC interventions are a well-developed set of global benchmarking tools, diagnostic instruments, applied research and strong knowledge of good practices and reform experiences.
  • Encouraging Business: Supporting the implementation of transparent, inclusive and efficient policies and regulatory practices, IC solutions help governments unlock opportunities for developing the private sector and reducing the uncertainties of day-to-day business activities, which in turn incentivize firms to invest, compete and grow.
  • Expanding Market Opportunities: Ensuring that IC frameworks are attuned to maximizing the socioeconomic benefits resulting from private investments, the Bank Group’s policy interventions are designed to enhance the participation of high-potential domestic firms in global value chains.

In Practice:
In Guinea, the World Bank Group supported the implementation of an ambitions IC reform program aimed at improving the country’s business environment, encouraging domestic linkages with its $30 billion mining sector, and diversifying its sources of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and growth. During the life of the program, Guinea succeeded in attracting more than $710 million in non-mining investment, registering more than 13,000 new firms, and creating more than 16,000 jobs.


EXPERTS

Christine Qiang

Practice Manager




CONTACT US

Kristina Nwazota
Senior Communications Officer
knwazota@worldbank.org

COMPETITIVE SECTORS

The World Bank Group works with countries to expand market opportunities and drive sustainable growth across several critical sectors:

ImageAgribusiness
Why it Matters:
Sixty-three percent of the world’s poor work in agriculture and almost 80 percent live in rural areas. Currently, much investment is directed at on-farm opportunities, but at a level insufficient to meet rising demands for food. Net investments of more than $80 billion per year are needed if food production is to keep pace with rising demand, and most of this growth must come from the private sector.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group works to expand market opportunities in agriculture and enable a country’s private sector to develop these opportunities all along the value chain. The World Bank Group assists governments and the private sector in a number of ways:

  • Diagnostics;
  • Advisory and financing support;
  • Supporting value chain competitiveness and reducing the cost of doing business;
  • Additional services, including food safety, national quality infrastructure, and building linkages between markets and locally-based food suppliers

In Practice:
In Ukraine, The World Bank Group supported the government’s reform of inspections and registration requirements across the agribusiness sector which saved the private sector $15 million annually. Advisory support for reform of the food safety law supported greater access to Ukrainian products in the European Union. 

ImageTourism
Why it Matters: 
Tourism accounts for 9 percent of global GDP, 5 percent of total investment, and 1 out of every 11 jobs. In less developed countries, tourism is often identified as a key driver of economic growth and one of the primary employers and job creators. For tourism strategies to succeed, destinations first need to adopt policies based on sound knowledge of how tourism contributes to growth and prosperity.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group assists client countries in building competitive, sustainable tourism sectors to drive growth and strengthen linkages between the industry and communities. Our tourism program is designed to:

  • Define market position and opportunities for growth
  • Build market improvement
  • Foster market development

In Practice:
The World Bank Group is working at the national and state government levels in India to transform the popular “Buddhist Circuit” from a series of disconnected sites to a holistic tourism experience that appeals to various travelers. Increased revenue and jobs will contribute significantly to improving the quality of host communities around these sites.

ImageManufacturing
Why it Matters: 
Over the last 65 years, 10 of the 13 countries that achieved at least 25 years of high, sustained growth did so through manufacturing. Over the next 10 years, global demand for manufactured goods will grow, with demand from developing countries as a significant driver.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group helps client countries identify sustainable growth opportunities in the manufacturing sector, address bottlenecks obstructing growth, and increase industry- and firm-level competitiveness to deliver more investments, job growth, and improved inclusion. We offer client governments diagnostics, technical assistance and financing support, and we improve access to infrastructure, inputs and markets through improved policy frameworks.

In Practice:
In Macedonia, Romania, and Serbia, the World Bank Group scoped automotive sector linkages and helped design a regional project to broaden automotive component manufacturing opportunities. In Egypt, the Bank Group provided strategic support in defining the scope and focus of clean technology manufacturing opportunities in solar technology. In Bangladesh, the Bank Group is supporting the design and implementation of a large manufacturing diversification project, targeting sectors and developing strategies to guide multi-year interventions.


ImageSpatial Growth Strategies
Why it Matters:
Countries are using various types of spatial growth strategies – including growth poles, growth corridors and special economic zones – to correct market and governance failures both within and across industries. When implemented correctly, spatial tools can lead to increased private sector investment directed to areas of excellence and higher productivity in select industries.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group helps client countries design spatial growth strategies that will lead to greater levels of investment, create jobs, and provide efficiencies to industry through shared infrastructure.

In Practice:
In Madagascar, a $165 million World Bank Group project contributed to a ten-fold increase in the stock of formal enterprises and a near seven-fold increase in the number of formal jobs in the growth poles of Fort Dauphin and Nosy Be.  

ImageCompetitive Cities
Why it Matters:
No country has ever reached middle-income status without a significant population shift to cities. Urban areas contribute as much as 70 percent of global GDP despite representing only half of the world’s population. But the economic benefits of urbanization do not happen automatically.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group helps cities craft and execute successful strategies for growth and jobs. Our work spans a range of services, from evidence and data collection to innovation and implementation.

In Practice:
We worked with the City of Johannesburg, South Africa, to identify relevant cities as a comparison for improving Johannesburg’s competitiveness. Our research, analysis, and strategies paved the way for a comprehensive economic development strategy and investment framework for Johannesburg.

 


EXPERTS

Ernesto Lopez-Cordova

Practice Manager




CONTACT US

Kristina Nwazota
Senior Communications Officer
knwazota@worldbank.org

ImageINNOVATION & ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Countries and regions with vibrant innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystems tend to witness higher productivity, increased economic growth and more robust job creation, the main pathways through which the poor can escape poverty. The World Bank Group’s work on innovation and entrepreneurship has eight areas of focus.

Supporting High Growth Potential Women Entrepreneurs
Why It Matters:
Nearly one billion women with the potential to contribute more fully to their economies are constrained by discriminatory policies and regulations, limiting social norms, or a lack of appropriate conditions at the startup stage. Empowering female entrepreneurs, especially those in high-growth sectors, has the potential to create jobs, increase incomes, and lead to greater economic and social transformation.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group helps women entrepreneurs overcome the constraints they face and maximize their potential contributions to the economy and to society. The World Bank Group offers support in two broad categories:

  • Business Capabilities, mentoring, networking support, and financing
  • Regulatory reform programs

In Practice:
In the Caribbean, the World Bank Group supported the development of the women innovators network (winC) to connect growth-oriented women entrepreneurs and help them scale their businesses through mentoring, training, and peer-to-peer learning. The network has engaged hundreds of women online and provided a platform from which they can receive access to mentorship and participate in workshops.

Skills for Competitiveness: Boosting Firm Growth and Youth Employability
Why It Matters:
Between now and 2030, more than a billion young people will enter the labor market; every month, more than a million will seek jobs in Africa, and another million in India.  

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group helps clients improve the ability of firms to access needed skills through training institutes and on-the-job programs to strengthen productivity and boosting employment – especially among youth.

Innovation Policy for Competitiveness
Why It Matters:
Innovation allows firms to specialize, meet international best-practice standards, upgrade quality and reduce costs. A wide range of development challenges can also be more easily achieved with systematic support of research and innovation policies.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group helps developing countries identify, design, and implement policies, reforms and strategic investments to foster innovation in their economies. Our work in this area has four main goals:

  • Strengthening governance for policy effectiveness;
  • Enabling firm innovation;
  • Improving the impact of public research organizations;
  • Enhancing the contribution of innovation policy for shared prosperity.

Increasing Entrepreneurship in the Digital Economy
Why It Matters:
For developing countries who have invested in broadband infrastructure, the digital economy can play an important role in encouraging inclusion and alleviating poverty by reducing information asymmetries and by fostering entry into the productive labor force by women and younger workers.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group provides analysis and digital entrepreneurship programs designed to spur economic activity in knowledge industries, reduce information asymmetries, create high-value jobs, and spur high-tech innovation. The World Bank Group supports clients in four ways:

  • Supporting the development of digital incubators;
  • Providing a digital entrepreneurship scorecard and opportunity map;
  • Advising clients on private sector leadership models;
  • Offering policy guidance and best practice examples.

In Practice:
The World Bank Group has supported mLab and NaiLab, incubators that have fostered a vibrant digital entrepreneurship ecosystem in Kenya, along with the pioneering community organization, iHub. The mobile merchant service Kopo Kopo emerged from mLab to raise more than $3 million and take its product to global markets. In three years of operations, mLab has provided skills training to 5,000 developers and entrepreneurs.

Growing Tomorrow’s Market Leaders: Empowering Entrepreneurs to Grow their Business
Why It Matters:
Countries and regions characterized by higher entrepreneurial activity tend to have higher growth rates and job creation, the main pathways through which the poor can escape poverty and join the global middle-class.

Our Approach:
Governments seeking to foster entrepreneurial activity can benefit from World Bank Group help in three particular ways:

  • Assessing opportunities and constraints to growth by entrepreneurs;
  • Developing entrepreneurship ecosystem strategies and targeted solutions;
  • Building capability within government agencies.

Backing Business Innovation in Clean Technology
Why It Matters:
Investments across 15 clean technology sectors in 145 developing countries are expected to top $6.4 trillion over the next decade, with $1.6 trillion of that market accessible to small and medium enterprises. To help countries tap into this growing market oppor­tunity,

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group’s Climate Technology Program helps local firms commercialize and scale the most innovative private sector solutions to climate change.

In Practice:
In South Africa, the World Bank Group partnered with Green­Cape — a special-purpose vehicle of the government — to launch a cross-border business matchmaking facility that creates connections between local green businesses and international companies or organizations. Once a match is made, a deal, such as a joint venture, is facilitated.

Helping Grow Agro-Processing Businesses
Why It Matters:
Global market trends in the food and beverage sector offer tremendous opportunities for small businesses to expand. Value addition in agribusiness is a key driver of inclusive economic growth; for each job created in agro-processing, three to seven are created in the wider economy, and for each small agro-processor that expands to a medium-sized company, demand for commodities increase, reducing post-harvest losses and improving incomes for small-holder farmers.

Our Approach:
The Agribusiness Entrepreneurship Program helps small competitive agro-processing enterprises grow by increasing their productivity, investment readiness, and market access. This is done by seeding new public-private partnerships that leverage industry, financiers, business associations, and government to unlock opportunities for growth entrepreneurs.

In Practice:
In Tanzania, the program helped a provider of credit guarantees to agribusiness SMEs expand their service offering to extend tailored guidance to growth potential SMEs on manufacturing practices, financial management, sales and marketing.

Social Enterprise Innovation: Serving the Bottom of the Pyramid
Why It Matters:
Where public sector services are absent or inadequate and the market is too risky and not profitable enough for the private sector, social enterprises can provide effective — and cheaper — solutions for service delivery to the poor.

Our Approach:
To broaden impact, the World Bank Group has shifted from supporting individual enterprises to promoting the social enterprise sector as a whole. To build a more conducive ecosystem for social enterprises, the support of governments is key.

In Practice:
To help build government support in this sector, the World Bank Group has developed a set of targeted tools to improve awareness and evidence of the sector, including social enterprise business models; an ecosystem diagnostic; and capacity building and policy tools.


EXPERTS

Ganesh Rasagam

Practice Manager




CONTACT US

Kristina Nwazota
Senior Communications Officer
knwazota@worldbank.org

CROSS-CUTTING TOPICS

The World Bank Group’s efforts on trade and competitiveness intersect with several additional areas of work in development.

ImageGreen Competitiveness

Why it Matters:
Governments face the cahllenge of a global environment where climate variability coupled with increased resource demand and price volatility threatens the competitiveness of economies. Industries and their supply chains are key drivers of economic development and significant contributors to climate change: they are responsible for 21 percent of direct and 11 percent of indirect greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change. Climate change also impairs industrial production and competitiveness by exposing developing countries to increased input costs for energy as well as shortages of energy and water.

Our Approach:
With the challenges of climate change come opportunities. Investments of at least $170 billion per year could be made until 2020 toward resource efficiency improvements utilizing climate-friendly technologies. A potential market of $1.6 trillion is accessible to small and medium enterprises in developing countries over the next decade in clean technology sales. We help developing countries take advantage of these opportunities and increase the competitiveness of their industries by promoting climate-efficient solutions, supply chains, and innovation and entrepreneurship for clean technology.

In Practice:
The World Bank Group assisted the government of Bangladesh in establishing guidelines and policies that encourage firms within export procesing zones to consume less energy. As a result, firms reduced CO2 emissions by 10 percent per year.

ImageTrade and Competitiveness in Fragile and Conflict Situations (FCS)
Why it Matters: 
Conflict has a devastating impact on trade, with trade levels dropping by as much as 25 percent in the first year of a civil war, and up to 40 percent in most cases. And the damage is long-term: The interruption in trade can persist even 25 years after the onset of conflict. Countries in fragile and conflict situations usually have very weak investment climates: 70 percent of the economies on the Bank Group’s list of FCS countries rank in the bottom quartile of the Doing Business ranking.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group works with FCS countries in the area of trade and competitiveness to foster economic recovery, create jobs, restore production and trade, and create an enabling environment for investment.

In Practice:
A Bank Group project in Sierra Leone supported reforms of company registration, construction permits, property registration, tax simplification, and investment and export promotion, helping start some 2,500 businesses, create 15,000 jobs, register hundreds of new taxpayers and increase income tax revenue by 3.5 percent.

ImageConnecting People and Firms to Markets and Opportunities
Why it Matters:
Connectivity among individuals, firms, countries, and regions is increasingly understood as a key factor in achieving competitiveness and sustainable, inclusive economic growth. Good connectivity to nodes of global economic activity is critical for the integration of countries and firms into regional and global trade value chains, but connectivity also entails risk. It can be a source of economic contagion and vulnerability, and the geographic extension of trade, transport, energy, and logistics networks implies environmental and social footprints. These and other potential risks must be understood and managed.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group helps client countries better connect people and firms to markets and opportunities. We support governments in maximizing expected returns on policies and investments by taking into account economic interaction within and between networks. We support client governments with cutting edge approaches, including network analysis, the Logistics Performance Index, Air Connectivity Index, and trade costs datasets, among others.

In Practice:
The World Bank Group is maximizing the benefits of connectivity in the design and prioritization of projects in Central Asia, such as the regional Central Asia Road Links Program, which aims to increase connectivity among neighboring countries along priority cross-border road links and to align policies regionally.

ImageConnecting to Global Value Chains and Maximizing the Gains
Why it Matters:
Developing countries that can connect to global value chains (GVCs) produce more and better jobs, greater opportunities for domestic suppliers, increased exports, and higher productivity.

Our Approach:
The World Bank Group helps developing countries put in place the trade, investment, and complementary supply-side policies to connect to GVCs and realize the economic and development benefits. Our services range from developing long-term strategies for deep structural reform to targeted policy interventions on shorter-term challenges, specific issues, or challenges in particular sectors and GVCs.

In Practice: 
In Vietnam, The World Bank Group is carrying out a forward-looking analysis of Vietnam’s current and potential role in GVCs. The report is intended to guide the country’s efforts to deepen integration and achieve high income status in the coming decades.




CONTACT US

Kristina Nwazota
Senior Communications Officer
knwazota@worldbank.org