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.
Attention was especially focused on infrastructural development and the implementation of the free health care program. Another key poverty reducing strategy is the Smallholder Commercialisation Scheme. A robust monitoring and evaluation system has been established. Inadequate domestic capacity negative attitudes and fraudulent behavior toward execution of public contracts, delayed donor disbursement of funds for public works, and limited intra- and intersectoral coordination has been limiting factors. Developing a comprehensive policy framework to regulate behavior of contractors and ensuring timely release of donor funds for projects is needed.
The Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy was implemented in an extremely challenging environment, adversely affecting the conduct of macroeconomic and sector policies. The accomplishments in regard to sector policies are highly encouraging. There was notable progress in the administration of justice and police reform efforts. However, there were no significant developments in public administration reform. Congo recognizes that continued, sustainable growth in a stable macroeconomic climate is essential to reducing poverty, and this requires consolidating peace and security, and promoting administrative and economic governance.
The Article IV Consultation with the Kingdom of Swaziland discusses efforts to broaden the tax base and improve tax administration, in particular through the introduction of a value-added tax and the establishment of a Revenue Authority. The depreciation of the nominal exchange rate along with the South African rand, to which it is pegged, impacted positively on the export sector. Prompt and automatic pass-through of international price increases would also help depoliticize price adjustments.
St. Lucia’s 2008 Article IV Consultation underlies that progress has been made in reducing fiscal imbalances, yet public debt and debt servicing payments continue to rise. Tourism accounts for more than three-fourths of exports, and the import content of both consumption and foreign direct investment is high. Although the share of value added from the traditionally dominant agriculture sector has declined sharply in recent decades, crop exports support the incomes of much of the country’s large rural population.