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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Dirk Philipsen, Richard Thaler, and David Kotz

Finance and Development, September 2015

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Acompetitive banking system is important for effective financial intermediation—channeling savings into productive investment—and this, in turn, is a key to economic growth. A new study finds that an uncompetitive market structure as well as certain other characteristics of the banking system and economy are hampering financial intermediation in Ghana. Thierry Buchs, who recently transferred from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation to Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, and Johan Mathisen of the IMF’s Policy Development and Review Department, spoke with Jacqueline Irving of the IMF Survey.

Eduardo Laso

IN EACH OF THE FIVE Central American countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, the sound monetary policies which have in general been pursued in recent years have been helpful in promoting internal and external stability and in ensuring balanced and orderly economic development.1 Since 1950, both agricultural and industrial production have expanded in each of these countries. In several of the countries, the imports of food which formerly were necessary are no longer required, and in normal crop years there now are actually small export surpluses. Social capital has been expanded rapidly. New and better roads have been constructed, more electric power has been produced, and more schools and hospitals have been built since 1950 than in the whole of the preceding 20 years. This expanded social capital will facilitate an even more rapid increase of production in the future.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In a move to strengthen the IMF’s ability to head off risks to the global economy, the institution’s 24-member Executive Board adopted on June 15 a landmark decision providing updated guidelines for monitoring the economic health of its 185 member countries (a process known as bilateral surveillance).

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper highlights that one of the most dramatic developments in the 20th century was the entry of women into economic and political spheres previously occupied almost exclusively by men. Although women are making progress in eliminating gender disparities, they still lag men in the workplace and in the halls of government. These gaps are found throughout the world, but are particularly pronounced in developing economies. So far, the greatest success has been in reducing education and health disparities and the least in increasing women’s economic and political influence.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

IMF Managing Director Horst Köhler on July 29 welcomed the report “Economic and Financial Issues Facing Argentina,” presented by the Panel of Independent Advisors (see IMF Survey, July 22, page 225). The panel was established to assist Argentina in addressing the complex challenges it faces on the economic and financial fronts: output and employment are depressed, the normal functioning of the banking system has been disrupted, the government is unable to service its debts, and substitute quasi currencies are circulating throughout the economy. “The views and conclusions of the panel,” Köhler said, “will be very helpful to the Argentine authorities and to the IMF as we continue our discussions toward an economic program for Argentina that will restrain inflation, restore macroeconomic stability, and put the economy on a path of recovery.”

GEORGE PSACHAROPOULOS and HARRY A. PATRINOS

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.