News of ongoing economic uncertainty surrounds us. In delivering his semiannual monetary policy report to Congress recently in Washington, U.S. Chairman Ben Bernanke urged drastic reduction in the government’s long-term deficit. "The United States is on an unsustainable fiscal path looking out over the next couple of decades." The same day, 25 European leaders signed a new fiscal path to promote spending discipline. Spain has announced that deepening recession meant it would abandon deficit-reduction targets for the year. The European Central Bank has injected €1 trillion ($1.3 trillion) into banks in recent months. This has been alongside a provisional agreement on a second package of loans for Greece worth €130 billion ($172 billion).
At the 2012 World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos last week, a record 2,600 global leaders discussed a frenetic mix of economic and social issues facing the global community. A number of panels (some of which were overlooked with all the talk of the unfolding Eurocrisis) focused on the important transition Africa is making from an underdeveloped continent to one characterized by sustained growth -- backed by strong trade and investment flows.
John S.Wilson is a Lead Economist in the Development Economics Research Group of the World Bank. He is also currently a Visiting Fellow at Columbia University. He joined the Bank in 1999 and directs empirical and policy research on trade facilitation, aid effectiveness, and regulatory reform issues, as they relate to economic development. Mr. Wilson also provides expertise in Bank operations and spent two years in the Bank’s Infrastructure Vice Presidency. He has participated in Bank operational projects under preparation and completed totaling over $1.3 billion. Mr. Wilson also provided leadership for the Bank in the establishment of the inter-agency Standards and Trade Development Facility. He also developed the initial concept for the Bank’s Trade Facilitation Facility in 2009 and is a member of the Facility’s Program Committee. He co-managed input to the G-20 Summit in Seoul on trade for the World Bank staff, among other policy dialogues recently. Mr. Wilson has also directed work on trade facilitation, standards, and transparency related to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) agenda since 1995.
Mr. Wilson was previously Vice President for Technology Policy at the Information Technology Industry Council in Washington, D.C. and a Visiting Fellow at the Institute for International Economics. He was also a Senior Staff Officer at the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and National Research Council and Adjunct Professor of International Affairs at Georgetown University. He has degrees from The College of Wooster and Columbia University in New York.