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International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
This paper is the sixth in a series that examines macroeconomic developments and prospects in low-income countries (LICs). LICs are defined in this report as the countries eligible to PRGT facilities (69 countries). The first section of the paper discusses recent macroeconomic developments and trends across LICs. The second section estimates LICs’ financing needs up to 2025 to resume and accelerate their income convergence with advanced economies (AEs). It does this by estimating the additional financing that would enable LICs to step up spending response to COVID, including vaccination needs, while rebuilding or keeping external buffers to enhance resilience, and then the paper considers the financing needed to allow LICs to accelerate convergence with AEs. The paper then discusses a mix of financing options, including concessional financing from the international financial institutions, grants and loans from bilateral donors, private financing and debt operations, but also domestic reforms within LICs themselves as a key component to foster growth, enhance private investment, raise public revenues, and increase efficiency of spending.
Carine Meyimdjui and Jean-Louis Combes
This paper studies whether fiscal policy plays a stabilizing role in the context of import food price shocks. More precisely, the paper assesses whether fiscal policy dampens the adverse effect of import food price shocks on household consumption. Based on a panel of 70 low and middle-income countries over the period 1980-2012, the paper finds that import price shocks negatively and significantly affect household consumption, but this effect appears to be mitigated by discretionary government consumption, notably through government subsidies and transfers. The results are particularly robust for African countries and countries with less flexible exchange rate regimes.
International Monetary Fund. Office of Budget and Planning
On April 27, 2020, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the IMF’s administrative and capital budgets for financial year (FY) 2021, beginning May 1, 2020, and took note of indicative budgets for FY 2022–23.
Daniel Gurara, Mr. Kangni R Kpodar, Mr. Andrea F Presbitero, and Dawit Tessema
While expanding public investment can help filling infrastructure bottlenecks, scaling up too much and too fast often leads to inefficient outcomes. This paper rationalizes this outcome looking at the association between cost inflation and public investment in a large sample of road construction projects in developing countries. Consistent with the presence of absorptive capacity constraints, our results show a non-linear U-shaped relationship between public investment and project costs. Unit costs increase once public investment is close to 10% of GDP. This threshold is lower (about 7% of GDP) in countries with low investment efficiency and, in general, the effect of investment scaling up on costs is especially strong during investment booms.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Djibouti discusses that large-scale infrastructure investments and a rapid expansion of trade and logistics activities have fueled strong growth in recent years. The government has in recent years implemented large-scale investments to develop transport and logistics infrastructures. Combined with business climate reforms, this development strategy has fueled strong growth and positioned Djibouti well to become a regional trade and logistics hub. The IMF staff’s baseline projections assume a significant reduction in debt financed public investment. Growth is nonetheless projected to remain strong, driven by the rapid expansion in Ethiopia’s trade and a pickup in private investment. Fostering higher and inclusive growth and bolstering the external position require addressing impediments to private sector investment and improving external competitiveness. Critical reforms include further enhancing the business environment, promoting competition, and improving the governance and efficiency of public enterprises to lower factor costs, particularly in the telecommunications and electricity sectors.
Antonio Fatás, Mr. Atish R. Ghosh, Ugo Panizza, and Mr. Andrea F Presbitero
Governments issue debt for good and bad reasons. While the good reasons—intertemporal tax-smoothing, fiscal stimulus, and asset management—can explain some of the increases in public debt in recent years, they cannot account for all of the observed changes. Bad reasons for borrowing are driven by political failures associated with intergenerational transfers, strategic manipulation, and common pool problems. These political failures are a major cause of overborrowing though budgetary institutions and fiscal rules can play a role in mitigating governments’ tendencies to overborrow. While it is difficult to establish a clear causal link from high public debt to low output growth, it is likely that some countries pay a price—in terms of lower growth and greater output volatility—for excessive debt accumulation.