International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Belize has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a deep recession and worsened fiscal and external positions from already weak levels. The opposition People’s United Party won the November 2020 elections by a wide margin, which gives the new government a unique opportunity to jump start much needed reforms to reduce large imbalances and anchor strong and inclusive growth.
Johanna Tiedemann, Veronica Piatkov, Dinar Prihardini, Juan Carlos Benitez, and Ms. Aleksandra Zdzienicka
Small Developing States (SDS) face substantial challenges in achieving sustainable development. Many of these challenges relate to the small size and limited diversification of their economies. SDS are also among the most vulnerable countries to the impact of climate change and natural disasters. Meeting SDS sustainable development goals goes hand-in-hand with building their climate resilience. But the additional costs to meet development and resilience objectives are substantial and difficult to finance. This work adapts the IMF SDG Costing methodology to capture the unique characteristics and challenges of climate-vulnerable SDS. It also zooms into financing options, estimating domestic tax potential and discussing the possibility of accessing ‘climate funds.’
Hippolyte W. Balima, Deirdre Daly, and Mr. Boileau Loko
Domestic revenue mobilization (DRM) is essential for low-income and emerging economies to sustainably finance their development needs and has received increasing attention in recent years. Studies have centered on structural factors such as the size and the structure of the economy, and the quality of institutions, notably to account for weaknesses in revenue administrations. Nevertheless, DRM can take time and carry political costs. Raising more financing through donors or private investors may be an easier and more politically palatable way for countries to meet spending needs. Using an impact assessment methodology and panel regressions over a sample of 72 developing countries, we found no evidence that access to bond markets or external commercial loans undermines the countries’ efforts to collect tax revenue. On the contrary, we found that access to markets has a positive impact on domestic revenue mobilization. Plausible explanations are that private financing must be repaid, and strong macroeconomic fundamentals are key for maintaining market access. We have also found that macroeconomic stability and the strength of institutions do matter for domestic revenue mobilization.
The level of public investment in Belize has varied over the past years in the context of existing constraints. The sharp increase in public debt has limited available fiscal space.1 This has resulted in an increase in externally financed investments as a share of the capital budget and a growing interest in public private partnerships (PPPs) to help achieve the government of Belize’s national strategy objectives.2 However, the correlation between Belize’s public investment and GDP growth remains weak, and the public capital stock as a ratio to GDP shows a sharp deterioration, possibly pointing to investment inefficiencies.
Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mary E. Burfisher, Mr. Julian T Chow, Ding Ding, Fabio Di Vittorio, Dmitriy Kovtun, Arnold McIntyre, Ms. Inci Ötker, Marika Santoro, Lulu Shui, and Karim Youssef
Deeper economic integration within the Caribbean has been a regional policy priority since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the decision to create the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Implementation of integration initiatives has, however, been slow, despite the stated commitment of political leaders. The “implementation deficit” has led to skepticism about completing the CSME and controversy regarding its benefits. This paper analyzes how Caribbean integration has evolved, discusses the obstacles to progress, and explores the potential benefits from greater integration. It argues that further economic integration through liberalization of trade and labor mobility can generate significant macroeconomic benefits, but slow progress in completing the institutional arrangements has hindered implementation of the essential components of the CSME and progress in economic integration. Advancing institutional integration through harmonization and rationalization of key institutions and processes can reduce the fixed costs of institutions, providing the needed scale and boost to regional integration. Greater cooperation in several functional policy areas where the region is facing common challenges can also provide low-hanging fruit, creating momentum toward full integration as the Community continues to address the obstacles to full economic integration.