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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Kosovo discusses various challenges and opportunities in the public infrastructure domain. Given the very low initial stocks, largely due to the sharp depletion of capital stock during the conflicts in the 1990s, higher investment rates are needed. The resources available from international development partners, including the European Union (EU), the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, are a unique opportunity to leverage and accelerate the implementation of priority projects. Strengthening Kosovo’s investment framework is key to achieving this objective. Kosovo faces significant public infrastructure gaps, which constrain private sector development. Scaling-up public investment will raise gross domestic product growth potential and accelerate income convergence toward the EU average level. The priority project list has helped the authorities to prioritize plans and facilitate the discussions and negotiations with donors and International Financial Institutions (IFI). However, implementation so far has been modest, despite the new investment clause of the fiscal rule exempting IFI-financed projects from the deficit ceiling.
Zsoka Koczan
Emerging Europe has undergone a major economic transformation over the past 25 years. Most countries experienced initial drops in output during transition, followed by recovery in the second half of the 1990s. The path of transition in the Western Balkans has however been particularly uneven. The effects of transition also seem to have been more traumatic and persistent in the Western Balkans, and nostalgia for the past appears to be more prevalent here than in other former communist regions. Such dissatisfaction has important implications for the political economy of further reforms. This paper aims to inform policy by complementing the analysis of standard macro-level measures of inequality and poverty with a household-level analysis of subjective perceptions of poverty. We find that many more people appear to feel poor than are classified as such using purely income-based measures. Uncertainty, in particular related to expectations of future income and vulnerability to shocks, appears to be a key driver behind this discrepancy.
International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews the progress report on implementation of the National Strategy for Socio-Economic Development (NSSED) during 2004 in Albania. The NSSED established a multiyear plan to combat poverty and strengthen governance. The main implication of the Integrated Planning System for the NSSED is that it will evolve into a comprehensive strategic planning framework. Its focus will accordingly shift toward medium to long-term planning, ensuring that a coherent, costed, mutually consistent sector and cross-cutting strategies are developed that serve as the policy basis for the annual Medium-Term Budget Program process.
Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

Since 2000, Armenia's economic performance has been remarkable. Real economic growth has averaged 11 percent a year, annual inflation has averaged 3 percent, and poverty and inequality have fallen. The country has outperformed other low-income countries including other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is particularly impressive given the geographical location of Armenia, the closure of two critical borders, and occasional political turmoil. The key factors behind Armenia's economic performance are prudent monetary and fiscal policies, liberal trade and foreign exchange regimes, rapid and relaively well-sequenced structural reforms, and support from the Armenian diaspora. In addition, the implementation of a poverty reduction strategy since 2002 has complemented the effect of economic growth on reducing poverty. This book assesses the country's economic transformation during the last 10 years and discusses the challenges to sustaining these successes.

International Monetary Fund
This report presents the Joint Staff Assessment of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper Annual Progress Report (APR) for Albania. The second year of National Strategy for Socio-Economic Development (NSSED) implementation in Albania saw significant improvements in a number of areas, despite continuing political uncertainties and governance issues. The APR presents an appropriate analysis of poverty, recent economic developments, and sectoral reforms. The IMF staff commends the government for using information from the Living Standard Measurement Survey and other sources to analyze patterns in living standards and to enrich its previous diagnoses of poverty.
International Monetary Fund
The Joint Staff Assessment (JSA) reviews the first Annual Progress Report of its Poverty Reduction Strategy paper, known in Albania as the National Strategy for Socio-Economic Development (NSSED). The JSA noted that the first year's performance in implementing the NSSED is satisfactory, and the Progress Report, despite weaknesses, is acceptable. The staff of the World Bank and IMF considers that the country's efforts toward implementation of the strategy provide sufficient evidence for its continuing commitment to poverty reduction, and therefore the strategy continues to provide a credible framework for Bank and IMF concessional assistance.