SIGMA ministerial conference: plenary session 2


How does public governance make a difference for long-term economic development?


With the need to balance short and longer-term gains, governments often struggle to find the best mixture of economic policy measures. Ministries of finance are the guardians of stability and prudence, but in practice they may focus too much on immediate expenditure.

Better long-term economic development depends on a very wide range of issues, for example demographics, quality of labour force, national security, infrastructure and peoples’ perception of leadership and public governance. How can governments work within and across these issues? What kind of institutions do we need for more inclusive and sustainable economic development? 

Keynote speaker

Jan Walliser, Vice President, Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions, World Bank

Mr Walliser has a unique combination of experience from academic research at the Boston University, public policy making at the U.S. Congressional Budget Office and international co-operation and analytical economic policy advisory services at the IMF and the World Bank. Having served in various strategic roles in the World Bank, Mr Walliser brought great depth in knowledge and experience to the second plenary session. Mr Walliser is currently leading the World Bank’s Global Practices covering Finance & Markets, Governance, Macroeconomics & Fiscal Management, Poverty, and Trade & Competitiveness.

Talking points

Session moderator

Christian Kastrop, Director of the Policy Studies Branch, Economics Department, OECD



Amr El Gahry, Minister of Finance, Egypt

Olexandr Danyliuk, Minister of Finance, Ukraine

Dušan Vujović, Minister of Finance, Serbia

Dragan Tevdovski, Minister of Finance, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Octavian Armaşu, Minister of Finance, Moldova

Main messages

SIGMA has summarised below the main messages of this session, based on the speeches and discussions that took place.

  • Governments need institutions that are capable, inclusive and responsive to the needs of the public. There is strong evidence of a positive relationship between good governance and long-term economic growth.

  • It is not possible to export good governance, and there is no single recipe for successful institutional change.

  • Government should not just look at the structure of institutions, but their purpose. Sometimes a more informal approach gets things done.

  • It is always easier to give advice than to actively participate in reforms.

  • Countries do not disagree about where they want to go. But they disagree on how fast they can do things.

  • The first step is to recognise we need reform. This is easier in a crisis, but when things start to improve, it is more difficult to agree on the way forward.





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