Mr. Erwin H Tiongson, Mr. Benedict J. Clements, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta
Global food aid is considered a critical consumption smoothing mechanism in many countries. However, its record of stabilizing consumption has been mixed. This paper examines the cyclical properties of food aid with respect to food availability in recipient countries, with a view to assessing its impact on consumption in some 150 developing countries and transition economies, covering 1970 to 2000. The results show that global food aid has been allocated to countries most in need. Food aid has also been countercyclical within countries with the greatest need. However, for most countries, food aid is not countercyclical. The amount of food aid provided is also insufficient to mitigate contemporaneous shortfalls in consumption. The results are robust to various specifications and filtering techniques and have important implications for macroeconomic and fiscal management.
This paper assesses Malawi’s Use of IMF Resources and Request for Emergency Assistance. The food shortage in early 2002 in Malawi has caused immense human suffering. IMF staff endorses the authorities’ decision to undertake large-scale food imports to complement the humanitarian aid efforts. Moreover, as effective targeting mechanisms are not available, the IMF staff supports the provision of a price subsidy as the most efficient way of reaching the poor who do not benefit from humanitarian aid.