Assessing World Bank Support for Trade, 1987-2004: An IEG by Yvonne Manu Tsikata

By Yvonne Manu Tsikata

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The exception was Europe and Central Asia. However, in all Regions except Europe and Central Asia and the Middle East and North Africa, loans were more likely to feature a combination of import and export actions. Another way of examining this hypothesis is to analyze the trade reforms supported by the Bank in each country over time, particularly the focus of the conditions. In 51 of the 65 countries where the Bank supported trade reforms, it advised a combination of import liberalization and export promotion (defined as the exportrelated conditions above), or export promotion first.

Policy implementation was rated from 1 (highest, or strong implementation, with all conditions met on time) to 3 (lowest, or weak implementation, with conditions only partially met and significant delay). Moderate implementation was assigned a 2 and reflected cases in which conditions were largely met, but with delays. 14 The PRI shows that about 73 percent of countries exhibited strong implementation on trade issues. This share is higher than IEG (1997) found for overall adjustment lending, but is in line with that report’s specific findings for trade.

The Bank also seconded an economist to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry who, working with staff, helped provide real-time analyses of potential trade policy effects and became a trusted interlocutor for those interested in pursuing trade reform. By the time the authorities decided to reform in response to crisis in the mid-1980s, the government technocrats were convinced of the value of reform and had a blueprint for its introduction. The benefits of the ESW and advice were not limited to the earlier period.

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