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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) for Zimbabwe and highlights that the new government that assumed office following the July 2018 elections is committed to addressing the macroeconomic imbalances, removing structural distortions to facilitate a resumption in growth, and to re-engaging with the international community including by clearing its external arrears. The SMP will be monitored on a quarterly basis and is intended to assist the authorities in building a track record of implementation of a coherent set of economic and social policies that can facilitate a return to macroeconomic stability and assist in reengagement with the international community. With limited access to external financing and the very low level of international reserves, the authorities’ room for manoeuvre is very narrow. There are also significant implementation risks of the monetary and exchange rate reforms, as well as addressing governance and corruption weaknesses, which could adversely impact the attainment of SMP objectives.
Laurent Kemoe and Zaijin Zhan
This paper explores the effects of fiscal transparency on the borrowing costs of 33 emerging and developing economies (EMs), and on foreign demand for their sovereign debt. Using multiple indicators, including a constructed one based on the published data in the IMF’s Government Finance Statistics Yearbook, we measure the separate effects of the three dimensions of fiscal transparency: openness of the budget process, fiscal data transparency, and accountability of fiscal actors. The results suggest that higher fiscal transparency reduces sovereign interest rate spreads and increases foreign holdings of sovereign debt, with each dimension of fiscal transparency playing a different role. Availability of detailed cross-country comparable fiscal data, especially for balance sheet items, has shown to increase foreign investors’ willingness in holding EM sovereign debt.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Rwanda has responded to lower aid by tightening policies and drawing on its foreign reserves to cushion the impact on the economy. Economic activity has been resilient despite lower aid inflows. The agreed framework for the FY2013/14 budget is in line with Policy Support Instrument (PSI) objectives. The government’s intention to develop a comprehensive plan for enhancing domestic revenue mobilization over the medium term is timely. Rwanda’s new poverty reduction strategy (EDPRS2) and the commitment to tighten the monetary stance while allowing greater exchange rate flexibility is encouraging.
International Monetary Fund
This 2009 Article IV Consultation highlights that Malawi’s macroeconomic performance has improved significantly over the past two years, and the country’s agricultural-based economy has weathered the global economic storm relatively well. Good weather and the distribution of subsidized fertilizer have contributed to robust growth and moderate inflation in recent years. Malawi’s medium-term outlook is favorable, within the context of successful implementation of the Extended Credit Facility-supported program. Growth is expected to remain buoyant, but moderate somewhat relative to the high growth of the recent past.
Michael T. Gapen, Mr. Dale F Gray, Cheng Hoon Lim, and Ms. Yingbin Xiao
This paper develops a comprehensive new framework to measure and analyze sovereign risk. Since traditional macroeconomic vulnerability indicators and accounting-based measures do not address risk in a comprehensive and forward-looking way, the contingent claims approach is used to construct a marked-to-market balance sheet for the sovereign, and derive a set of credit-risk indicators that serve as a barometer of sovereign risk. Applications to 12 emerging market economies show the risk indicators to be robust and highly correlated with market spreads. The framework can help policymakers design risk mitigation strategies and rank policy options using a calibrated structural model unique to each economy.
International Monetary Fund
This 2002 Article IV Consultation on Portugal highlights that after an extended strong economic expansion, the GDP growth stalled in 2002 and, at 0.5 percent, fell below the euro area average for the first time in almost a decade. The growth slowdown reflected a broad-based decline in domestic demand as households began to adjust to high indebtedness levels and a deteriorating employment outlook. Investment continued to fall amid slowing demand prospects and rising global and domestic uncertainty. The weakness in domestic demand led to a decline of imports.
International Monetary Fund
This paper focuses on the Islamic Republic of Mauritania’s Sixth Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and a Request for Waiver of Performance Criterion. Performance under the PRGF-supported program remained strong in 2002. All the quantitative and structural performance criteria and benchmarks were met except for the publication of the audit of the central bank accounts, which was delayed for technical reasons. The IMF staff commends the authorities for bringing to a successful conclusion the current PRGF Arrangement and for their impressive record on macroeconomic stability and structural reforms.
International Monetary Fund
Nigeria’s 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that major macroeconomic imbalances had emerged as a result of sharp increases in government spending and expressed concern at the risks of a further acceleration of inflation and continuing instability in the exchange market. The overall fiscal balance deteriorated sharply in 2001, the external accounts worsened, and inflation accelerated. The overall stance of fiscal policy remains highly expansionary in 2002, notwithstanding efforts by the authorities to contain capital spending. Lax financial policies have led to a sharp fall in international reserves.
Mr. Tej Prakash and Mr. Vito Tanzi
This paper deals with efficiency in the public sector. It argues that the habit of relating efficiency to public spending, as is generally done, may give wrong results when, as is often the case, public institutions use public assets (land, buildings, etc.) without imputing a cost for that use. The paper argues that, because of lack of incentives, governments are often wasteful in their use of publicly held assets. It recommends the creation of “cadastres” of publicly owned assets that could be used for several purposes including increasing public sector efficiency.
Mr. Guillermo Calvo and Mr. Jacob A. Frenkel
This paper identifies obstacles hindering the transformation of centrally-planned economies (CPEs) into well-functioning market economies. The obstacles identified relate to (i) anticipatory dynamics, (ii) monetary overhang and the budget, and (iii) underdeveloped credit markets. It is demonstrated that these obstacles inhibit the effectiveness of price reform, monetary and credit policies, and trade liberalization. The analysis focuses on various ways to remove the obstacles. In this regard, a special examination is made of the implications of “cleaning” the balance sheets of enterprises and banks from nonperforming loans, as well as ways to enhance credibility. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of sequencing, “safety nets,” and their associated obstacles.