economic reform

By Erik Berglof of the EBRD

The latest forecasts show that central Asia and the Caucasus are again the fastest-growing economies in the former Communist countries of eastern Europe and the ex-Soviet Union.

Yet, given the low level of income and relatively high population growth of these countries, the numbers are disappointing. On closer inspection growth is also narrow, mainly stemming from natural resources and remittances from citizens working abroad; countries less endowed with resources are doing worse. Economic reforms are mostly stuck, as are, with a few exceptions, political reform. Read more

A few months ago, Alexandre Tombini, governor of Brazil’s central bank, told beyondbrics that Brazil was finally “going horizontal”. Enough of picking winners and piecemeal, ad hoc measures, he said: it was time for across-the-board reforms that would deliver a more efficient economy and a level playing field for all.

So much for that. Back in the present day, Guido Mantega, optimist and finance minister, on Tuesday announced cuts in payroll and other taxes and a special line in finance for the construction industry. After Friday’s shocking GDP figures, it looks like a knee-jerk effort to get the economy moving – or at least its most labour-intensive sector. Read more

Ukraine, already one of the world’s top producers and exporters of grain, is floating a bold plan to boost domestic harvests by offering to lease out millions of hectares of unused, government-owned farm land.

Billed by authorities in Kiev as Ukraine’s response to rising concerns over global food security, the project could lure in billions of dollars in investments, helping Ukraine achieve its much-hyped goal of harvesting more from its famously-rich black earth by doubling yields and annual crop volumes. Read more