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.
This paper explains the cashew economy and the unfolding of the 2017 campaign. At least half of all households are thought to be engaged in production, commercialization, or exportation of cashew nuts. The activity has at least four macroeconomic impacts: one, it injects liquidity to producers; two, owing to producers’ high propensity to consume, it impacts the price level; third, it is the main provider of foreign exchange via exports; and fourth, it is an important source of fiscal revenues. Despite streamlining of marketing arrangements over the years, cashew production is still subject to significant government intervention. Vested interests have traditionally permeated public policies, with nontransparent issuance of licenses and permits used in some instances to block competition. Cashew production started to expand during the 1980s and yearly output has over the years increased to currently about 200,000 tons. Native of north Brazil, cashew trees were introduced by the Portuguese during the colonial period but output remained negligible through to the country’s independence in 1973.
Despite a relatively high GDP growth rate over the past decade (2000–10), economic growth in Mauritania has not been able to make a significant dent in poverty. Rapid and sustained poverty reduction requires inclusive growth that allows people to contribute to and benefit from expanding economic activity. Mauritania needs to make greater progress toward inclusive growth by enhancing the distributional impact of public spending and by improving the quality of pro-poor spending. The Executive Board recommends effective monetary policies to meet the challenges.
Recent studies on the relationship between financial development and poverty have been inconclusive. Some claim that, by allowing more entrepreneurs to obtain financing, financial development improves the allocation of capital, which has a particularly large impact on the poor. Others argue that it is primarily the rich and politically connected who benefit from improvements in the financial system. This paper looks at a sample of 37 countries in sub-Saharan Africa from 1992 through 2006. Its results suggest that financial deepening could narrow income inequality and reduce poverty, and that stronger property rights reinforce these effects. Interest rate and lending liberalization alone could, however, be detrimental to the poor if not accompanied by institutional reforms, in particular stronger property rights and wider access to creditor information.
This Selected Issues paper for Peru shows that during the years of strong growth and high commodity prices, the Peruvian authorities have conducted a prudent fiscal policy, maintaining a broadly neutral fiscal stance. During 2004–08, while the revenue-to-GDP ratio increased 3.7 percentage points, the expenditure ratio rose only 0.9 percentage points. Expenditure control focused on current spending and coincided with increasing government investment aimed at enhancing public access to infrastructure and social services. Fiscal policy has also outperformed budgets approved by congress, owing to higher-than-anticipated revenue, as well as the need to limit inflation pressures.
Sylviane Guillaumont Jeanneney and Mr. Kangni R Kpodar
This article investigates how financial development helps to reduce poverty directly through the McKinnon conduit effect and indirectly through economic growth. The results obtained with data for a sample of developing countries from 1966 through 2000 suggest that the poor benefit from the ability of the banking system to facilitate transactions and provide savings opportunities but to some extent fail to reap the benefit from greater availability of credit. Moreover, financial development is accompanied by financial instability, which is detrimental to the poor. Nevertheless, the benefits of financial development for the poor outweigh the cost.
This Joint Staff Advisory Note (JSAN) highlights the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper–Country Development Strategy (PRSP–CDS) for the Kyrgyz Republic for 2007–10. The Kyrgyz authorities’ CDS for 2007–10 builds on the policy experience from the National Poverty Reduction Strategy (NPRS). This JSAN provides advice on key priorities for strengthening the strategy and promoting the effective implementation of CDS. It reviews poverty trends, macroeconomic and sectoral policies in support of the strategy, and the mechanisms for monitoring and evaluating progress.
This paper discusses key findings of the Fourth Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility for Armenia. Armenia’s economy performs strongly. All end-December 2006 quantitative and all but one structural performance criteria were observed. The main policy challenges are to broaden economic growth, raise tax revenues, and manage large foreign exchange inflows. Fiscal policy remains appropriate. Meeting the ambitious 2007 revenue target will require broadening the tax base and strengthening administration. The stance of monetary policy is appropriate.
The Fifth Review Under the Three-Year Arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility of the Republic of Mozambique explains macroeconomic performance. Growth has picked up, led by strength in the construction sector and a recovery in agricultural production. The strategy to consolidate macroeconomic stability in the context of scaling-up of foreign aid should sustain strong growth. The Bank of Mozambique (BM) will continue to target base money and facilitate absorption of the additional foreign aid while a strengthening of Public Financial Management (PFM) systems ensure a better monitoring of expenditures.
Bangladesh is reducing poverty and making headway toward meeting its MDGs. However, political considerations are exerting an increasing influence on economic policy decisions. The overall fiscal balance has been kept below budget and program targets, notwithstanding sizable revenue slippages. Monetary policy has been gradually tightened, and the exchange rate has stabilized in recent months, but further monetary tightening is needed. Quantitative performance criteria for the fifth review were met with the exception of that for revenue collection.