This chapter reviews the distributional impact of agricultural sector reforms in Africa. African governments have intervened in the agricultural sector for decades, but generous pricing policies and operational inefficiencies have often necessitated large budgetary transfers to parastatals. Over the past 20 years many African countries attempted to liberalize their agricultural sector, with mixed success. This chapter describes the forms of government intervention in agricultural markets, the liberalizing reforms undertaken in the past 20 years, the channels by which these reforms affected stakeholders, and the outcomes of the reforms on poor households.100
It is common for governments in developing countries to manipulate prices of goods and services using a range of policy instruments and institutional arrangements. The motivations behind these price manipulations reflect varying objectives, such as the need to raise revenue, the desire to redistribute income toward the poor or toward politically important groups, the desire to provide protection to domestic producers, or the desire to influence the levels of supply or demand in other related markets where prices cannot easily be influenced.17 For example, the major source of revenue in most developing countries is commodity taxation such as domestic sales and excise taxes and taxes on international trade (Burgess and Stern, 1993; and Keen and Simone, 2004); food prices are often kept artificially low for consumers in order to increase the real incomes of poor households (Pinstrup- Andersen, 1988; and Gupta and others, 2000); and public sector prices (e.g., of electricity, gas, petroleum, coal, other fuels, fertilizers) are also often controlled by governments, reflecting either the perceived strategic importance of these inputs for development or the need to provide these sectors with an independent source of revenue and thus greater financial autonomy (Julius and Alicbusan, 1986).
The Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) is used by the IMF to provide support for countries’ implementation of their poverty reduction and growth strategies. A key requirement in the design of PRGF programs is understanding the effects of reform program measures on vulnerable groups—particularly the poor—and how to devise measures to mitigate any negative effects. Poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA) is a critical instrument for pursuing this goal. The IMF has therefore established a small group of staff economists to facilitate the integration of PSIA into PRGF-supported programs. In this book, the group’s members review analytical techniques used in PSIA as well as several important topics to which PSIA can make valuable contributions. These reviews should prove useful and interesting to readers interested in PSIA in general and the IMF’s PSIA efforts in particular.
Trade liberalization and devaluation (TLD) policies have always been present in many IMF-supported programs. Tariffs, quotas, and other trade restrictions reduce the level of trade and tend to foster the development of import substitute industries that often fail to attain the degree of efficiency and flexibility shown by firms continuously exposed to international competition.66 Programs tend to promote the removal of trade restrictions in order to improve resource allocation and growth outcomes in the medium term. Devaluation policies in IMF programs tend to play a shorter-term adjustment role instead. The objective is in most cases to restore external viability by switching expenditures from the nontradables sector to the tradables sector.
The poverty and social implications of macroeconomic and structural reform policies are increasingly being recognized in IMF-supported programs and IMF policy advice. In 1999, the IMF replaced the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility, its assistance program for supporting low-income countries, with the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), which explicitly gives poverty alleviation more prominence in its operations. In addition to its focus on promoting macroeconomic stability and growth, the PRGF program focuses on the relationship between macroeconomic policies and their poverty implications.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Following are edited excerpts from a press conference given on April 20 by a group of African finance ministers and central bank governors. The IMF’s External Relations Department has been organizing press conferences with African ministers of finance over the past four years during its spring and Annual Meetings to give African member countries’ representatives the opportunity to express their views on issues of interest to their countries. The ministers also met with the heads of the IMF and the World Bank. Participating in the press briefing were Daudi Ballali, Governor of the Central Bank of Tanzania; Paul Bouabre, Minister of Finance for Côte d’lvoire; Emmanuel Kasonde, Minister of Finance for Zambia; Yaw Osafo-Maafo, Minister of Finance and Economy for Ghana; and Jean-Claude Masangu Mulongo, Governor of the Central Bank of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
This paper reviews the population policy in developed countries. The paper highlights that despite the weakness of population concerns in most developed countries compared with less-developed countries, most of the former have taken certain actions that affect, or are thought to affect, demographic events. These actions include such measures as appointing official commissions to study the country’s demographic situation and advise the government what to do; providing birth control services as part of the public health system; and so on. This paper also summarizes the conclusions drawn by Dr. Berelson from the 25 country reports.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Since the mid-1990s, Tanzania has made major strides in restoring macroeconomic stability and creating an environment conducive to private sector-led growth. These efforts, aided by two successive financing arrangements with the IMF, have positioned the country to make more ambitious structural reforms. On July 28, the IMF approved a new three-year financing arrangement under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Volker Treichel, Senior Economist in the IMF’s African Department, describes Tanzania’s considerable progress to date and outlines the steps the country is now embarking on to ensure that higher growth also translates into greater employment opportunities and reduced poverty.
The Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) is the instrument used by the IMF to provide support for countries in the implementation of their poverty reduction and growth strategies, as identified in their Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs). The core objective of the PRSP approach is to arrive at policies that are more clearly focused on growth and poverty reduction, in which the poverty reduction and macroeconomic elements of the program are fully integrated, and that embody a greater degree of national ownership, thereby leading to more consistent policy implementation. Key requirements in the design of the PRGF programs that support this approach are an understanding of the effect of program measures on vulnerable groups—particularly the poor—and designing measures to mitigate any negative effects. Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) is, in turn, a critical instrument for pursuing this goal. In this regard, IMF staff is expected to draw on PSIAs carried out by other institutions (such as the World Bank) and donors in addressing distributive concerns in PRGF-supported programs. To this end, the IMF established a small in-house capability on PSIA to facilitate the integration of PSIA into PRGF-supported programs. The group has only four full-time positions, so its activities are designed to leverage expertise and available resources both inside and outside the IMF. In limited cases, the group also conducts PSIAs in areas that are central to the work of the IMF and where no other analysis is available. The goals of the PSIA group are to assist mission teams to
The IMF Research Bulletin, a quarterly publication, selectively summarizes research and analytical work done by various departments at the IMF, and also provides a listing of research documents and other research-related activities, including conferences and seminars. The Bulletin is intended to serve as a summary guide to research done at the IMF on various topics, and to provide a better perspective on the analytical underpinnings of the IMF’s operational work.