Click here for search results


Site Tools

Public or Private – What Matters Most for Development? Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics 2007 Wraps up in Slovenia

May 21, 2007 —Private sector executives from several continents, a Mexican social policy specialist, the Prime Minister of Slovenia and the Vice Prime Minister of Macedonia, Japanese officials working on global public issues, and the Chief Executive of India’s Confederation of Indian Industry—all have important perspectives on the role of the private sector in development.


Scenic Bled (Slovenia) where the Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) was held, May 2007

In a world awash in private capital, it is vital to harness the power of the private sector to solve key development challenges. The 2007 Annual Bank Conference on Development Economics (ABCDE) in Bled, Slovenia from May 17-18 on ‘Development and the Private Sector’ discussed these issues with more than 400 participants from over 80 countries. The successful event was another achievement for Slovenia, a recent new EU member that joined the eurozone this year and will take over the EU presidency at the end of this year.

Other associated happenings in the scenic town of Bled, Slovenia included: a meeting of South East European Parliamentarians organized by the World Bank; a PhD workshop allowing students to share and discuss papers on the World Bank; the final Jury deliberations and award ceremony of the International Essay Competition, and; the annual meetings of the Researchers Alliance for Development (RAD) and of Bank Group Private Sector Liaison Officers (PSLO) Network. 


François Bourguignon, World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President, Development Economics at ABCDE 2007 in Bled, Slovenia.

“Whether we are arguing in terms of welfare economics or in terms of political economy, it is quite clear that distributional impacts of privatizations are very important.  Indeed, much of the public skepticism towards privatization may be linked to distributional effects we are not capturing very well in our analysis,” said Francois Bourguignon, the World Bank's Chief Economist and Senior Vice President for Development Economics, in his keynote address.

The eighth ABCDE conference explored recent research on three topics:  financial inclusion; which factors matter most for the business climate; and the provision of public services by non-state actors.

Whether it was Tarun Das of the Confederation of Indian Industries providing his industry perspective on whether banks are keeping pace with his country’s burgeoning information technology boom or international researchers exploring financing for the poor, participants agreed that access to capital can provide huge economic and development dividends.


Abdulaye Sarre, Chief Executive Officer, Senegal’s Premium Contact Center International (PCCI) Group

On the business climate, one interesting perspective came from Abdulaye Sarre, Chief Executive Officer, Senegal’s Premium Contact Center International, or PCCI Group: “We are the second largest private sector service provider in Senegal, but are constrained by a skills mismatch whereby young entrepreneurs and computer specialists are scarce, yet the education system keeps churning out graduates in history and geography.” He added, “Also, small businesses face high interest rates, outmoded custom laws, and cumbersome legal systems.  Much more is needed to improve our business climate.”

Michael Klein, Vice President for Financial and Private Sector Development, stressed that the World Bank Group's best-selling ‘Doing Business’ report which surveys companies and enterprises directly, fits in well to a framework for gauging the quality of regulations and other factors impacting entrepreneurs.

“A key theme running throughout this event was the issue of contracting mechanisms between various actors in development – citizens, governments, businesses, and NGOs.  Building the credibility of the state was another key factor—the question of its legitimacy is closely correlated with its ability to deliver services through the use of taxes,” noted Shigeo Katsu, Vice President of the World Bank's Europe and Central Asia Region.

Slovenian Finance Minister Andrej Bajuk handed over the mantle of ABCDE to South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, who participated via videolink from Berlin where he was attending a G8 meeting. The 9th ABCDE will be held in South Africa, though the city location is still to be decided.

Linden Tree

A linden tree, and a Japanese karura head, symbols of ABCDE 2006 (Tokyo) and 2007 (Bled).

A linden, Slovenia’s national tree, was presented to the South Africans as a symbolic link to the 2008 event.  Manuel promised to nurture the tree until the next year’s conference. The 2006 symbol of ABCDE Tokyo, the Japanese ‘karura’ head, was also on display.

“South Africa looks forward to hosting ABCDE 2008 in the spirit of going beyond a macroeconomic focus to also look at regional partnerships, interactions between states and markets, and how to create predictable environments and accountable institutions,” remarked Manuel in his video address.

Supporters of the ABCDE 2007 include the Government of Slovenia, the European Investment Bank, and the Ministry of Finance of Norway (sponsor of the essay competition).

“ABCDE has evolved into an open forum engaging a wide range of multilateral and bilateral agency views and inputs. This year, the European Investment Bank organized a roundtable on small and medium-sized enterprises and growth; the OECD presented an African economic outlook report. The UK’s Economic and Social Research Council sent speakers and panelists, and so on,” said Jean-Christophe Bas, Manager, Development Policy Dialogue at the World Bank's Paris Office.

















































Permanent URL for this page:

© 2016 The World Bank Group, All Rights Reserved. Legal