The four-year Improving Business Environment for Prosperity (IBEP) program is implemented by the World Bank Group (WBG) with support from the UK Prosperity Fund managed by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The program aims to strengthen the design and implementation of business environment reforms in middle-income countries with the objectives of boosting business competition and catalyzing shared prosperity. It is built around a Global Influence Window and country-level engagements in nine countries: Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Turkey and Vietnam. See the Program’s Theory of Change.
Middle Income Countries (MICs) are home to a substantial part of the world’s population (representing about five of the world’s seven billion people) as well as global poverty (accounting for 73% of the world’s poor). They are also considered major engines of global growth, generating about one third of global GDP, though they often face common challenges, including:
- Stagnating productivity growth
- Worsening inequality and poverty rates
- Weak governance structures
- Growing instability
- More frequent and severe crises (i.e. refugee crisis, commodity prices shocks, etc.)
These issues make it difficult for policymakers to promote sustainable growth, firm integration into the world economy, or a more even distribution of wealth. In addition, the emergence of global value chains (GVCs) has changed the global economic landscape. GVCs have transformed the production of goods, increased the relevance of private investment, and set global standards for economic activity. Given their importance, a favorable business environment is essential to create the opportunities and incentives for firms to invest productively, generate jobs, and grow. Transparent and simple regulations, low costs of doing business and open markets give the private sector confidence to start a business, increase market shares and expand into new markets.