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Mr. Tobias N. Rasmussen

The economic performance of the Caribbean region has weakened in recent years, amid a series of natural disasters and an increasingly competitive global economic environment. What can be done to spur higher growth was the topic of “Developmental Challenges Facing the Caribbean”—a seminar held in Trinidad on June 11–12. The event, part of celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, underscored the urgency of encouraging more flexible labor markets and lowering debt ratios as these economies seek to become more adaptive to the demands of a fast-changing global economy.

International Monetary Fund

By combating malaria with mosquito nets or building schools and providing basic sanitation, philanthropy is helping transform the developing world. Rich donors are devoting fortunes—many of them earned through computer software, entertainment, and venture capitalism— to defeating poverty and improving lives, supplementing and in some cases surpassing official aid channels.From billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to Aliko Dangote and George Soros, the titans of capitalism are backing good causes with their cash. Whether financing new vaccines, building libraries, or buying up Amazon rain forest to protect the environment, philanthropists are supporting innovations and new approaches that are changing lives and building dreams.This issue of F&D looks at the world of targeted giving and social entrepreneurship.“ Philanthropy’s role is to get things started,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is the world’s most generous giver. “We used foundation funds to set up a system to make market forces work in favor of the poor.” He says that catalytic philanthropy can make a big difference. “Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton tells us that networks of creative cooperation between government, business, and civil society can get things done better to solve the world’s most pressing problems.Also in this issue, Prakash Loungani profiles superstar economist Jeffrey Sachs, who helped campaign for debt relief for developing economies and championed the Millennium Development Goals. We look at how, instead of spending commodity price windfalls on physical investments, which are often sources of corruption, governments of poor countries are sometimes well advised to hand some of the income over to their citizens. We examine moves by major central banks to ease our way out of the crisis enveloping advanced economies in our Data Spotlight column, and we hear about how China’s growth inspires creativity in the West.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on constructing a high-frequency economic growth indicator for Suriname. Most economic data for Suriname are available only with a substantial time lag and on a low-frequency basis, impeding such analyses. This paper presents a simple econometric model that closely approximates GDP in recent years. The model estimates are used to construct a monthly indicator of economic activity for Suriname. The indicator provides information about the pace of economic activity close to real time, typically with a one- to two-month lag.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses macroeconomic and structural reforms in Georgia. The government’s reform package includes a fiscal policy within a declining deficit path which intends to incentivize private investment, a scaling up of public investment, improvement in government’s efficiency, and an education reform. Based on modeling analysis, the implementation of this package will provide significant benefits to the economy. Over the long term, real GDP is estimated to be about 5 percent higher than in the baseline and—in the path toward the new equilibrium—annual growth about 0.7 percentage points higher over the medium term. The education reform has sizeable effects, but they only come into effect in the long term.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
La edición en Internet del Boletín del FMI, que se actualiza varias veces a la semana, contiene numerosos artículos sobre temas de actualidad en el ámbito de las políticas y la economía. Consulte las últimas investigaciones del FMI, lea entrevistas y escuche podcasts de los principales economistas del FMI sobre importantes temas relacionados con la economía mundial. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
L’édition web du Bulletin du FMI est mise à jour plusieurs fois par semaine et contient de nombreux articles sur des questions de politique générale et de politique économique d'actualité. Accédez aux dernières recherches du FMI, lisez des interviews et écoutez des podcasts proposés par les principaux économistes du FMI sur des questions importantes de l'économie mondiale. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
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. Norbert Funke, Asel Isakova, and Maksym Ivanyna
Using data from the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report as an example, this paper compares structural indicators for 25 countries in Emerging Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia with a generic country with similar charactersitics that is 40 percent richer as well as a country with the average EU income. This comparison suggests that improvements will be particularly crucial in the areas of institutions, financial market development, infrastructure, goods and labor market efficiency and areas related to innovation. For the generally more ambitious goal of reaching average EU income, the reform needs are correspondingly larger. The methodology focuses on (approximate) comparisons between countries and does not try to establish the link between structural reforms and growth. While we test for changes in empirical specifications, caveats relate to the quality of structural indicators, possible non-linearities, and reform complementarities. The approach can be applied to other indicators and at a more granular level.
Lawrence Summers

We need to understand more deeply a number of critical issues that confront the World Bank and its member countries before we can transform knowledge into effective actions

International Monetary Fund

Austria has relatively strong macroeconomic fundamentals, but also deep ties with the rest of the euro area. The legacy of an overly ambitious eastward financial sector expansion has created substantial challenges to its policymakers. Policies have been designed to preserve market confidence, increase resilience against future adverse external spillovers, and boost potential growth. The Austrian supervisory authorities have also introduced a set of macroprudential guidelines to strengthen the resilience of the banking sector. However, improvements in the fiscal governance framework have not advanced as expected.