With every twist and turn in the global financial crisis that started in 2007, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been at the heart of efforts to restore financial stability and return the world economy to sustainable growth. This year was no exception. The Fund was focused intensely on providing the financing, policy advice, and technical assistance that members need to manage economic and financial risks and achieve lasting growth. New nonconcessional financing arrangements were initiated for seven countries. At the same time, the institution was pursuing many strands of work to strengthen its approach to surveillance and policy design, to improve the instruments in its lending toolkit, and to improve the governance structure of the organization.
After a major setback in late 2011, global economic prospects gradually improved in early 2012, but concerns over the strength of the recovery resurfaced in the second quarter. Stronger activity in the United States and policies in the euro area in response to its deepening economic crisis helped to address the sharp deterioration in financial conditions and boost market confidence in the first few months of 2012. However, downside risks remained elevated at the end of FY2012, and markets were jittery as concerns about sovereign debt in parts of Europe and pressure on the European banking sector resurfaced.
The IMF continued in FY2012 to respond flexibly to members’ financing needs in an environment of heightened global uncertainty. The demand for Fund resources remained strong and commitments increased further, although at a slower pace compared to the previous year.
Faced with lower fiscal buffers than before the onset of the crisis in 2008, and given uncertain prospects for donor assistance in the future, low-income countries remained highly exposed during FY2012 to global shocks. The IMF worked on several fronts to help low-income countries deal with these and other ongoing challenges they face. In addition to the concessional financing the Fund provided to low-income countries during the year, and the additional concessional resources it secured through use of windfall gold sale profits (see Chapter 3), as well as new borrowing agreements signed to support financing for low-income countries (see Chapter 5), the Executive Board took up a number of issues particularly pertinent to low-income countries during the year. Debt issues were addressed in Board reviews of the HIPC Initiative and MDRI, as well as of the IMF–World Bank debt sustainability framework for low-income countries. Additionally, the Board examined ways of managing global growth risks and commodity price shocks in these countries.
Quota subscriptions (see Web Box 5.1) are a major source of the IMF’s financial resources. The IMF’s Board of Governors conducts general quota reviews at regular intervals (at least every five years), allowing the IMF to assess the adequacy of quotas in terms of members’ financing needs and its own ability to help meet those needs, and to modify members’ quotas to reflect changes in their relative positions in the world economy, thus ensuring that the decision-making mechanism of the international financial system evolves with the changing structure of the global economy. The most recent of these reviews, the Fourteenth General Review of Quotas, was concluded in December 2010.
Sudan’s 2006 Article IV Consultation reports that growth has been robust, inflation has been kept at a single-digit level, and important reforms have been undertaken. There has been progress with financial sector reforms and trade liberalization, and the managed floating exchange rate regime has been working well. Despite an increase in oil revenues, the fiscal space of the central government will be constrained because of the transfers required by the peace agreement and decentralization.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Sudan provides a first stock-taking of the scale, main transmission channels and potential costs of poor governance and corruption in Sudan and offers preliminary recommendations. A large body of literature and country analyses confirm that weak governance and corruption undermine economic growth, amplify income inequality and erode public trust in the institutions. According to international agencies and existing literature, Sudan has scored very poorly on compliance with rule of law best practices in the past. Effective implementation of preventive measures is important; particularly in relation to politically exposed persons. Transparency on beneficial ownership of legal persons and arrangements to prevent their misuse for laundering the proceeds of corruption are necessary. Transparency, accountability, and comprehensive communication should be the backbone of governance and anti-corruption reforms in each sector. Rationalizing tax exemptions and phasing out tax holidays would strengthen governance while boosting fiscal revenues.
The IMF's 2012 Annual Report chronicles the response of the Fund's Executive Board and staff to the global financial crisis and other events during financial year 2012, which covers the period from May 1, 2011, through April 30, 2012. The print version of the Report is available in eight languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish), along with a CD-ROM (available in English only) that includes the Report text and ancillary materials, including the Fund's Financial Statements for FY2012.
The five Regional Economic Outlooks published biannually by the IMF cover Asia and Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. In each volume, recent economic developments and prospects for the region are discussed as a whole, as well as for specific countries. The reports include key data for countries in the region. Each report focuses on policy developments that have affected economic performance in the region, and discusses key challenges faced by policymakers. The near-term outlook, key risks, and their related policy challenges are analyzed throughout the reports, and current issues are explored, such as when and how to withdraw public interventions in financial systems globally while maintaining a still-fragile economic recovery.These indispensable surveys are the product of comprehensive intradepartmental reviews of economic developments that draw primarily on information the IMF staff gathers through consultation with member countries.
Economic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa have remained generally robust despite a sluggish global economy. The near-term outlook for the region remains broadly positive, and growth is projected at 5¼ percent a year in 2012-13. Most low-income countries are projected to continue to grow strongly, supported by domestic demand, including from investment. The outlook is less favorable for many of the middle-income countries, especially South Africa, that are more closely linked to European markets and thus experience a more noticeable drag from the external environment. The main risks to the outlook are an intensification of financial stresses in the euro zone and a sharp fiscal adjustment in the US--the so-called fiscal cliff.