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Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

This chapter reviews Armenia’s growth performance and poverty indicators since the early 1990s. It seeks to respond to the following four questions: What were the sources of growth? Can the recent rapid growth be sustained? How responsive was poverty reduction to economic growth? What is the minimum annual growth needed for Armenia to reach its poverty target by 2015? The analysis is based on a growth accounting exercise and the results of recent household surveys.

Mr. James Y. Yao, Mr. Gamal Z El-Masry, Padamja Khandelwal, and Mr. Emilio Sacerdoti

Abstract

A critical question in the search for an explanation of Mauritius’s successful growth performance is why the Mauritian economy has been able to continuously diversify its production base.

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta and Yongzheng Yang

Abstract

The discussion so far highlights the need to take a broad perspective in thinking about how to make African RTAs work better. Careful design and sustained implementation are necessary to make any RTA deliver, but the more fundamental determinants of RTA performance seem to be policies and conditions that affect the overall environment for trade. In this context, MFN liberalization, improvements in regional infrastructure (particularly transport), and reductions in trading costs at borders are critical. These are all conventional development issues but nonetheless pose difficult challenges for African policymakers. African countries need to protect their revenue base in undertaking MFN tariff reductions, and, when such tariff cuts are implemented in their trading partners, they need to address the consequence of preference erosion.34 Efforts to improve infrastructure and reduce trading costs will require adequate local capacity of implementation, in addition to financial resources. In all these areas, the IMF can lend its support to African countries, beyond its core expertise area of macroeconomic management, which is also essential to create a conducive environment for trade.

Mr. Michael Keen

Abstract

One of the great ironies of intellectual history is that Adam Smith, the apostle of free trade, ended his days as a Comptroller of Customs. By the same token, it may seem strange that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), committed to the principles of free trade, should devote a good deal of its technical assistance activities to strengthening the performance of customs administrations. In each case, however, the explanation is easily found. For Smith, the position of Comptroller at Kircaldy, a post his father had also held, was an attractive sinecure (as customs posts continue to be in all too many countries). For the IMF, the support of improvement in customs administration reflects the recognition that although customs administration would wither away in an ideal world, in practice trade taxes are likely to be a significant source of revenue for many of its members, especially developing countries, for the foreseeable future; and that if trade taxes are to be levied, it is best that this be in a way that does least collateral damage to international trade flows.

Mr. James Y. Yao, Mr. Gamal Z El-Masry, Padamja Khandelwal, and Mr. Emilio Sacerdoti

Abstract

Over the past 25 years, Mauritius’s public finances have experienced three distinct phases: large fiscal deficits in the early 1980s, followed by a period of fiscal consolidation and discipline during the late 1980s and early 1990s, and finally the reemergence of fiscal imbalances from the second half of the 1990s to date (see Table 6.1).

Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

Since 2000, Armenia's economic performance has been remarkable. Real economic growth has averaged 11 percent a year, annual inflation has averaged 3 percent, and poverty and inequality have fallen. The country has outperformed other low-income countries including other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is particularly impressive given the geographical location of Armenia, the closure of two critical borders, and occasional political turmoil. The key factors behind Armenia's economic performance are prudent monetary and fiscal policies, liberal trade and foreign exchange regimes, rapid and relaively well-sequenced structural reforms, and support from the Armenian diaspora. In addition, the implementation of a poverty reduction strategy since 2002 has complemented the effect of economic growth on reducing poverty. This book assesses the country's economic transformation during the last 10 years and discusses the challenges to sustaining these successes.

Mr. James Y. Yao, Mr. Gamal Z El-Masry, Padamja Khandelwal, and Mr. Emilio Sacerdoti

Abstract

The discussion in the previous chapters leads to some key conclusions. First, the Mauritian growth performance since the 1970s has been exceptional.

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta and Yongzheng Yang

Abstract

Africa is home to some 30 regional trade arrangements (RTAs), many of which are part of deeper regional integration schemes.1 On average, each African country belongs to four RTAs (World Bank, 2004). There has been a renewed push in recent years for broader and deeper preferential trade arrangements in Africa. Some of the previously defunct regional arrangements (e.g., the East African Community) have been revived, while continental institutions—namely, the African Economic Community (AEC), the African Union, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)—have been launched under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). In addition, African countries are preparing to negotiate FTAs with the European Union (EU) under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is negotiating an FTA with the United States. South Africa, the largest African economy, has already signed an FTA with the EU.2

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta and Yongzheng Yang

Abstract

The generally disappointing record of African RTAs warrants a reexamination of the underlying assumptions. Is the record disappointing because no preconditions were established to make the RTAs beneficial, dooming them to failure before they even began? Or is this record the result of poor design and/or implementation? What can we learn from the successes of regional trade integration in other parts of the world as well as from Africa’s failures?