A high rate of economic growth in Belarus – an average of about 8% annually from 2001 to 2011 – has helped reduce poverty almost seven-fold. A favorable external environment supported the economic growth in Belarus.
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Guarantees will Support Lending to Real EconomyWashington, DC, June 25, 2015—The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World B... Show More +ank Group, announced that it is providing guarantees to support ongoing lending to the real economy by Raffeisen Bank International’s (RBI) subsidiaries in Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Serbia.MIGA is providing guarantees of €457 million to RBI, the second largest financial group doing business in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe. MIGA’s coverage will reduce the risk profile of RBI’s operations in these countries, enabling the bank to maintain local lending, stimulating economic growth, employment creation, and poverty reduction.Through MIGA’s involvement, the subsidiary banks will be required to develop and implement environmental and social management systems commensurate with the risks in their portfolio. This additional capacity is expected to help improve the overall sustainability of the subsidiaries’ corporate clients and investment projects.“MIGA’s guarantees are an important tool in managing our risk profile as we seek to concentrate on the promising markets where we can play a sustainable role in providing access to finance. We are quite proud to be the first Austrian banking group to implement this product,” says Karl Sevelda, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank International AG.“We remain committed to supporting the economies that were disrupted by the global financial crisis,” says Keiko Honda, MIGA CEO and Executive Vice President. “In particular, our support to the financial sector in these countries can help deepen credit markets, which benefit both businesses and consumers.”MIGA’s support to RBI builds on the crucial role the agency played in supporting the “Joint IFI Action Plan” implemented by the World Bank Group, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the European Investment Bank in response to the global financial crisis. MIGA delivered $1.9 billion of signed guarantees under the initiative to support the economies of Eastern Europe.---MIGA was created in 1988 as a member of the World Bank Group to promote foreign direct investment into emerging economies to support economic growth, reduce poverty, and improve people’s lives. MIGA fulfills this mandate by offering political risk insurance and credit enhancement to investors and lenders. Show Less -
Tbilisi, June 22, 2015 – The World Bank and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland in cooperation with the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Developmen... Show More +t of Georgia launched a two-day knowledge sharing event between Poland and Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine as a part of a Poland as a Global Development Partner project.The specific objective of the event is an exchange of experience between high-level technical decision-makers in Poland and the group of Eastern Partnership countries.In addition to specific exchanges of experience, this event is expected to promote more contact between high-level technical experts and decision-makers among these countries. This process will add to ongoing bilateral efforts by: (i) focusing on economic reform issues, in particular empowering local institutions to provide better public services and assuring macroeconomic and financial stability; and (ii) providing a neutral forum for a mutual exchange of experiences.“We are gathered here today not only because of Poland’s accomplishments during the last 25 transition years, but because looking forward - Poland is expected to play an increasingly significant role on the global development scene, by influencing debates internationally and within the EU, sharing its successful experience of economic transition, and supporting global development efforts. The main topic of today’s seminar – decentralization – was a cornerstone of Poland’s success and is now high on the reform agenda in Eastern Partnership countries.” said Mr Andrzej Cieszkowski, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Georgia.“In recent years, the World Bank has fostered cooperation across countries in a peer-learning format. Today’s event aims to share the experience of Poland in transforming its economy with other Eastern Partnership countries. It also provides an opportunity for the other countries to share their own experiences implementing specific reforms,” said Henry Kerali, World Bank Regional Director for the South Caucasus.“This event is part of a series aimed at facilitating knowledge transfers and promoting cross-country contacts. Subject to the interest by relevant parties – including all Eastern Partnership Countries - the World Bank stands ready to follow up on this event to develop a lasting process of peer learning within the group of countries represented here today and possibly other countries, as well.” said Marina Wes, World Bank Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic countries.The thematic sessions are intended to provide a framework for candid, reflective and interactive discussions between high-level policy-makers from the invited countries and prominent Polish experts and practitioners on key political and economic reforms. This event is the second in a series aimed at facilitating knowledge transfer and promoting cross-country contacts.The World Bank stands ready to follow up on this event to develop a lasting process of peer learning within the represented group of countries, and possibly other countries from around the world in future. Show Less -
New World Bank report looks at both the challenges and opportunities of an aging populationVIENNA, June 17, 2015 – Societies are aging across Europe and Central Asia, but individuals are not – a demog... Show More +raphic trend driven primarily by declining fertility rates rather than increased longevity, says the new World Bank report, Golden Aging: Prospects for Healthy, Active and Prosperous Aging in Europe and Central Asia.Launched today in Vienna at the Ministry of Finance, the report finds that the social and economic consequences of aging societies are complex and diverse – but not necessarily negative. The report identifies significant opportunities in a range of policy areas which, if fully seized, can help societies foster more active, healthy, and productive aging.In demographic terms, Europe and Central Asia is the oldest region in the world. In Central and Eastern Europe, the average age of the population is 10 years higher than the rest of the world, while relatively young countries such as Turkey and those in Central Asia are catching up fast. In many countries across the region, people are adapting to the new demographic shift, but there is also much concern and apprehension. A common perception is that pensions and health systems will come under pressure because an increasing number of elderly people will be dependent on the contributions of fewer workers to sustain these systems. The report suggests, however, that if governments enable individuals to participate more and longer in the labor market, dependency ratios could in fact remain quite stable.“A long-held belief is that aging populations tend to go hand-in-hand with economic decline,” said Hans Timmer, World Bank Chief Economist for Europe and Central Asia. “However, a smaller size of young cohorts opens the opportunity to equip them with better quality education and more capital, ultimately boosting their productivity.”Furthermore, productivity does not inevitably decline with age, while skills often shift with aging. This report shows that firms can take advantage of these changes and increase the application of production techniques that use age-appreciating skills more intensively.Aging societies are not destined to experience a stagnation or decline in living standards. However, the behavioral changes that help reduce dependency and sustain productivity do not necessarily happen automatically. A supportive environment, including the right incentives and policies, can facilitate this transition. Indeed, in Europe and Central Asia, bold adaptive action is needed across many policy areas to support active, healthy, and productive aging. These areas include much more than reforming the intergenerational transfer and pension systems – they encompass, among others, shifting health systems toward preventive care, primary care, and more diagnostics; reforming educational systems to bolster the cognitive skills needed for productive employment along longer working lives; and reforming labor market institutions to allow women to reconcile family and career goals, and older people to work more flexible hours.“The report gives an excellent overview of the various challenges European and Central Asian countries face due to an aging society,” said Hans Jörg Schelling, Minister of Finance of Austria. “The problems are, in fact, not new, but European policy makers are still struggling to define the right policy mix to allow for a decent aging of our population today and in the future. The findings of the report are valuable contributions to the ongoing discussion for economists and policy makers alike.”A successful policy package for aging societies must be sustainable and equitable, covering the whole lifecycle – supporting education, families, work, and retirement. If this happens, the report concludes, societies in Europe and Central Asia can move closer towards what ancient mythology describes as “the Golden Age” – a state of harmony, stability, and prosperity where people live long and healthy lives.For an online copy of the report and related information, please visit: www.worldbank.org/en/region/eca/publication/golden-aging Show Less -