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Mr. Simon T Gray
Some central banks have maintained overvalued official exchange rates, while unable to ensure that supply of foreign exchange meets legitimate demand for current account transactions at that price. A parallel exchange rate market develops, in such circumstances; and when the spread between the official and parallel rates is both substantial and sustained, price levels in the economy typically reflect the parallel market exchange rate. “Recognizing reality” by allowing economic agents to use a market clearing rate benefits economic activity without necessarily leading to more inflation. But a unified, market-clearing exchange rate will not stabilize without a supportive fiscal and monetary context. A number of country case studies are included; my thanks to Jie Ren for pulling together all the data for the country case studies, and the production of the charts.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
The paper reviews the implementation of the initiatives the IMF committed to in 2015 to support developing countries in pursuing the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, including (i) strengthening national tax systems; (ii) tackling large infrastructure gaps; (iii) promoting economic inclusion; (iv) the development of domestic financial markets; (v) intensifying engagement in fragile and conflict-affected states; (vi) improving economic statistics; (vii) expanding the financial safety net for developing countries; and (viii) addressing macroeconomic aspects of climate change. The implementation record to date shows that there has been a large scaling up of IMF support for the 2030 development agenda. The IMF has also engaged in other initiatives of direct relevance for supporting the 2030 development agenda, including adopting a framework to assess corruption vulnerabilities and developing a broad framework for assessing the spending levels needed to reach key SDGs. The paper draws lessons learned from the implementation of the various initiative to inform future IMF engagements.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This evaluation assesses the IMF’s work on countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS), addressing both (i) its engagement through surveillance, lending, and capacity development and (ii) the frameworks and procedures for its engagement. It finds that the IMF has provided unique and essential services to FCS to restore macroeconomic stability and rebuild core macroeconomic institutions as prerequisites for state building, playing a role in which no other institution can take its place. In this critical role, it is broadly acknowledged to have had a high impact. While the IMF has provided relatively little direct financing, it has catalyzed donor support through its assessment of a country’s economic policies and prospects. Notwithstanding this positive assessment, the IMF’s overall approach to its FCS work seems to have been conflicted. Not only has it failed consistently to make hard choices necessary to achieve full impact from its engagement in countries where success requires patient and dedicated attention over the long haul, but past efforts have not been sufficiently bold or adequately sustained, and the staff has tended to revert to treating fragile states using IMF-wide norms, rather than as countries needing special attention. The report proposes six recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the IMF’s FCS work: (i) to issue a statement of high-level commitment to FCS work for IMFC endorsement; (ii) to create an effective institutional mechanism with the mandate and authority to coordinate and champion such work; (iii) to develop comprehensive strategies for individual FCS; (iv) to adapt its lending toolkit to deliver more sustained financial support to FCS; (v) to take practical steps to increase the impact of its capacity development support to FCS; and (vi) to take steps to incentivize high-quality and experienced staff to work on individual FCS and find pragmatic ways of increasing field presence in high risk locations.

Mrs. Kerstin Gerling
Weather-related natural disasters and climate change pose interrelated macro-fiscal challenges. Using panel-VARX studies for a sample of 19 countries in Developing Asia during 1970 to 2015, this paper contributes new empirical evidence on the dynamic adjustment path of growth and key fiscal variables after severe weather-related disasters. It does not only show that output loss can be permanent, but even twice as large for cases of severe casualties or material damages than people affected. Meanwhile, key fiscal aggregates remain surprisingly stable. Event and case studies suggest that this can reflect both a deliberate policy choice or binding constraints. The latter can make governments respond through mitigating fiscal policy efforts such as ad hoc fiscal rebalancing and reprioritization. The findings help better customize disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts to countries’ risk exposure along a particular loss dimension.
International Monetary Fund
This review examines experience in implementing the lessons drawn in the 2011 Board paper on the Fund’s engagement with countries in post-conflict and fragile situations (more commonly referred to as fragile states (FS)) and the ensuing 2012 Guidance Note. The focus is on capacity building, Fund facilities and program design, and policy support. The review identifies scope to improve the Fund’s engagement in selected areas.
Ms. Sandra Marcelino and Ms. Ivetta Hakobyan
In 1996, the IMF and the World Bank introduced the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative—a comprehensive debt relief program aimed at reducing the external debt burden of eligible countries to sustainable levels, provided they carry out strong programs of macroeconomic adjustment and structural reforms designed to promote growth and reduce poverty. Now that the HIPC Initiative is nearly completed, this paper investigates whether the initiative managed to spur growth, either directly or indirectly through investment. In contrast to earlier studies, we conclude that there is some evidence of positive effects of the HIPC Initiative on growth. Such evidence suggests that the HIPC Initiative and MDRI have helped HIPC-eligible countries to reach higher growth, but it remains unclear whether this is through higher investment or another channel. Also, the analysis illustrates that it is hard to disentangle pure debt-relief effects from other concurrent factors.
International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department

Abstract

Sept ans après l’éclatement de la crise financière mondiale, le monde a encore beaucoup de chemin parcourir pour arriver à une reprise durable, marquée par une croissance forte permettant la création rapide d’emplois et apportant des avantages à tous, déclare la Directrice générale du Fonds monétaire international (FMI), Christine Lagarde, dans son message d’introduction au Rapport annuel 2014 de l’institution, intitulé De la stabilisation à la croissance durable, rendu public aujourd’hui. «La reprise est bien là, mais elle est encore trop lente et trop fragile, à la merci des aléas financiers. Des millions de personnes sont toujours sans emploi. L’incertitude a certes reflué, mais il est clair qu’elle n’a pas disparu.» Mme Lagarde ajoute que «pendant toute la durée de la crise et la période de redressement, le FMI a été, et continue d’être, un agent indispensable de la coopération économique» pour les pays membres. Le Rapport annuel rend compte du travail du Conseil d’administration du FMI et contient les états financiers de l’institution pour l’exercice allant du 1er mai 2013 au 30 avril 2014. Il décrit le soutien que le FMI apporte à ses 188 pays membres, en mettant l’accent sur les missions fondamentales de l’institution : évaluer les politiques économiques et financières des pays, leur fournir des financements en cas de besoin et développer leurs capacités techniques.

International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department

Abstract

Siete años después del estallido de la crisis financiera mundial, al mundo aún le queda mucho camino por recorrer para lograr una recuperación sostenida caracterizada por un crecimiento vigoroso que propicie una rápida creación de empleo y que beneficie a todos, señala la Directora Gerente del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), Christine Lagarde, en el prefacio del Informe Anual de 2014, De la estabilización a un crecimiento sostenido, que la institución publica el día de hoy. “La recuperación está en marcha, pero sigue siendo demasiado lenta y frágil, y está a merced del estado de ánimo de los agentes financieros. Hay millones de personas que siguen buscando trabajo. La incertidumbre quizás esté disminuyendo, pero no cabe decir que esté desapareciendo”. Lagarde explica que “A lo largo de la crisis y durante la recuperación, el FMI ha sido, y sigue siendo, un agente indispensable de cooperación económica” para los países miembros. El informe relata la labor desplegada por el Directorio Ejecutivo del FMI y presenta los informes financieros correspondientes al ejercicio comprendido entre el 1 de mayo de 2013 y el 30 de abril de 2014. El informe describe el apoyo que el FMI brinda a sus 188 países miembros, haciendo hincapié en las funciones básicas de la institución: evaluar las políticas económicas y financieras de los países, proporcionar financiamiento cuando sea necesario y fortalecer las capacidades en aspectos fundamentales de la política económica.

International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department

Abstract

Seven years after the onset of the global financial crisis, the world still has a way to go to secure a sustainable recovery marked by strong growth that supports rapid job creation and benefits all, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde says in her foreword to the institution’s Annual Report 2014—From Stabilization to Sustainable Growth, published today. The recovery is ongoing, but it is still too slow and fragile, subject to the vagaries of financial sentiment. Millions of people are still looking for work. The level of uncertainty might be diminishing, but it is certainly not disappearing.” Ms. Lagarde said that “throughout the crisis and in the recovery period, the IMF has been, and continues to be, an indispensible agent of economic cooperation” for its membership. The report covers the work of the IMF’s Executive Board and contains financial statements for the year May 1, 2013, to April 30, 2014. It describes the IMF’s support for its 188 member countries, with an emphasis on the core areas of IMF responsibility: assessing their economic and financial policies, providing financing where needed, and building capacity in key areas of economic policy.

International Monetary Fund. Secretary's Department

Abstract

Seven years after the onset of the global financial crisis, the world still has a way to go to secure a sustainable recovery marked by strong growth that supports rapid job creation and benefits all, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde says in her foreword to the institution’s Annual Report 2014—From Stabilization to Sustainable Growth, published today. The recovery is ongoing, but it is still too slow and fragile, subject to the vagaries of financial sentiment. Millions of people are still looking for work. The level of uncertainty might be diminishing, but it is certainly not disappearing.” Ms. Lagarde said that “throughout the crisis and in the recovery period, the IMF has been, and continues to be, an indispensible agent of economic cooperation” for its membership. The report covers the work of the IMF’s Executive Board and contains financial statements for the year May 1, 2013, to April 30, 2014. It describes the IMF’s support for its 188 member countries, with an emphasis on the core areas of IMF responsibility: assessing their economic and financial policies, providing financing where needed, and building capacity in key areas of economic policy.