The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has successfully implemented key reforms under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, despite experiencing exceptional challenges since the decision point, including a challenging security situation. Revised present value of HIPC assistance has given satisfactory assurances of their participation in the enhanced HIPC Initiative. The DRC does not qualify for topping-up under the enhanced HIPC Initiative. Full delivery of HIPC debt relief, and additional bilateral assistance beyond HIPC and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative debt relief at the completion point would reduce the DRC’s external debt burden significantly.
This paper discusses Congo’s progress under the Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). In the view of the staff of IDA and the IMF, Congo has met in full all of the triggers for reaching the completion point. All key decisions, actions, and measures required to observe the triggers have been taken, including a satisfactory track record of implementation for public investment management, procurement, governance and anticorruption, improvement in the internal controls and accounting of the state-owned oil company, and oil commercialization.
The Q&A in this issue features seven questions about policy options for emerging market countries (by Marcos Chamon, Chris Crowe, and Jun Il Kim); research summaries on “Does Trade and Financial Globalization Cause Income Inequality?” (by Chris Papageorgiou) and “The Current Account of Oil-Exporting Countries (by Irineu E. de Carvalho Filho); an article on the launch of the IMF’s new research journal, IMF Economic Review, and the contents of the upcoming IMF Staff Papers, which the new the new journal will succeed in 2010; an article on the upcoming Tenth Annual Jacques Polak Research Conference; a listing of visiting scholars at the IMF during July–September 2009; and listings of recent IMF Working Papers and Staff Position Notes.
The paper aims at characterizing the main determinants of the medium-term current account balance for oil-exporting countries using dynamic panel estimation techniques. Previous studies included a very limited number of oil-exporting countries in their samples, raising concerns about the applicability of the estimated coefficients for oil countries. Furthermore, current approaches are not specifically tailored to oil-producing countries because they fail to capture the effects of oil wealth and the degree of maturity in oil production. This paper explores the underlying determinants of the current account balance for a large sample of oilexporting countries, and extends the specifications commonly used in the literature to include an oil wealth variable, as well as a proxy for the degree of maturity in oil production. The paper therefore contributes to the existing literature both in terms of the sample studied as well as the variables considered. The results reveal that factors that matter in determining the equilibrium current account balance of oil-exporting counties are the fiscal balance, the oil balance, oil wealth, age dependency, and the degree of maturity in oil production.
This paper on the Republic of Congo’s staff-monitored program (SMP) reports that the authorities and civil society pledged to work together to make resource management more transparent. The authorities have reached understandings with IMF staff on an SMP for April-September 2007. The SMP aims at making progress toward fiscal sustainability, enhancing public financial management, and improving governance and transparency. A solid track record of policy implementation in the context of the SMP would pave the way for discussions on a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility arrangement to resume by end-2007.
Statistical data and issues are discussed in this paper. Mauritania reached the completion point under the enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. In July 2004, a new economic team took actions to tighten fiscal and monetary policies. The authorities intend to adopt sound principles for oil revenue management and tracking (various frameworks, such as the one proposed in the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative, are under consideration). Executive Directors welcomed the authorities’ willingness to prepare for the transition to a more flexible exchange rate.
This paper on the Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) for the Republic of Congo explains medium-to-long-term strategy for poverty reduction. Emerging from a conflict situation, and starting from a low base, Congo has made significant progress in implementing macroeconomic, financial, and structural reforms. Debt relief under the enhanced HIPC Initiative is expected to reduce Congo’s external debt by about one-third. The authorities have emphasized that Congo’s external debt remains unsustainably high and could further delay its economic and social reform programs.