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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx

Mr. Joannes Mongardini, Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Olivier Basdevant, Mr. Alfredo Cuevas, Mr. Xavier Debrun, Lars Holger Engstrom, Imelda M. Flores Vazquez, Mr. Vitaliy Kramarenko, Mr. Lamin Y Leigh, Mr. Paul R Masson, and Ms. Genevieve Verdier

Abstract

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is the oldest customs union in the world, with significant opportunities ahead for creating higher economic growth and increased welfare benefits to the people of the region, by fulfilling its vision to become an economic community with a common market and monetary union. This volume describes policy options to address the barriers to equitable and sustainable development in the region and outlines a plan for deeper regional integration.

Mr. Thomson Fontaine, Dalmacio Benicio, Mr. Joannes Mongardini, Ms. Genevieve Verdier, and Mr. Gonzalo C Pastor Campos
The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is facing its biggest challenge in its 100 years of existence. The global economic crisis has significantly reduced its revenue outlook, which is having a disproportionate impact on its smaller member countries, and which calls for an appropriate policy response. This paper discusses specifically the implications for Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland, and provides recommendations regarding the proper fiscal response by these countries to the decline in SACU revenue.
Mr. Jiro Honda, Manabu Nose, Cesar Sosa Padilla, Mr. Jose L. Torres, Ms. Murna Morgan, Mr. Fernando G Im, and Ms. Natalia A Koliadina
Over the past decade, Lesotho and Swaziland have faced significant volatility in their fiscal revenues, owing to highly unstable Southern African Customs Union (SACU) receipts. Based on model analysis, this paper explores the advantages of implementing fiscal rules to deal with such volatility. It finds that the use of a structural balance target could smooth the growth impact from revenue shocks while helping preserve sufficient international reserves during bad times. From a long-term perspective, it suggests possible welfare gains from introducing fiscal rules. Last, it concludes that, based on experiences in other countries, developing strong institutions and improving public financial management are necessary steps to ease the transitions to a rules-based fiscal policy framework.
Olivier Basdevant, Chikako Baba, and Miss Borislava Mircheva
Swaziland has faced a significant fiscal crisis since 2010, in the wake of loss of transfers from the Southern African Customs Union (SACU). The fiscal crisis has led to increasing vulnerabilities, not only of public finances but also on commercial banks and the private sector. This paper provides an analysis of Swaziland's main macroeconomic vulnerabilities and the main policy implications of the analysis.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This article presents an overview of the life of Richard Layard, who believes that the basic purpose of economics is the maximization of happiness and well-being. As director of the Wellbeing Programme at the London School of Economics’ Centre for Economic Performance, Layard focuses on the study of happiness. Layard was a distinguished labor economist long before he turned his attention to happiness. He is best known for his research in the 1980s on unemployment and for his advocacy of policies to support unemployed people on the condition that they try to find work. This “welfare to work” approach became popular in parts of continental Europe and was a mainstay of British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s economic program. Layard’s other current preoccupation is climate change. He is one of the drivers of the Global Apollo Program, a project to make renewable energy cheaper than fossil fuels within 10 years through publicly funded, internationally coordinated research and innovation.