Abdullah Al-Hassan, Mary E. Burfisher, Mr. Julian T Chow, Ding Ding, Fabio Di Vittorio, Dmitriy Kovtun, Arnold McIntyre, Ms. Inci Ötker, Marika Santoro, Lulu Shui, and Karim Youssef
Deeper economic integration within the Caribbean has been a regional policy priority since the establishment of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the decision to create the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME). Implementation of integration initiatives has, however, been slow, despite the stated commitment of political leaders. The “implementation deficit” has led to skepticism about completing the CSME and controversy regarding its benefits. This paper analyzes how Caribbean integration has evolved, discusses the obstacles to progress, and explores the potential benefits from greater integration. It argues that further economic integration through liberalization of trade and labor mobility can generate significant macroeconomic benefits, but slow progress in completing the institutional arrangements has hindered implementation of the essential components of the CSME and progress in economic integration. Advancing institutional integration through harmonization and rationalization of key institutions and processes can reduce the fixed costs of institutions, providing the needed scale and boost to regional integration. Greater cooperation in several functional policy areas where the region is facing common challenges can also provide low-hanging fruit, creating momentum toward full integration as the Community continues to address the obstacles to full economic integration.
The economic recovery in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to continue, but at a slower pace than envisaged in October 2018. This weaker outlook reflects domestic and external challenges. On the external side, the global expansion is losing momentum, including in China and the euro area, trade tensions remain elevated, global financial conditions have tightened, and commodity prices are expected to remain low. On the domestic front, security challenges, climate shocks, and policy uncertainty are hampering investment and weighing on economic prospects in several countries. Under current policies, medium-term average growth for the region is expected to continue to fall well short of what is needed to absorb the new entrants to the labor force and to deliver limited gains in living standards.
Angana Banerji, Ms. Bergljot B Barkbu, Mr. James A John, Mr. Tidiane Kinda, Mr. Sergejs Saksonovs, Hanni Schoelermann, and Mr. Tao Wu
The momentum for structural reforms is waning in the euro area at a time when even faster progress is needed to boost productivity and growth, achieve real economic convergence, and improve the resilience of the monetary union. What can the European Union (EU) institutions do to bridge this divide? This paper argues for greater simplicity, transparency and accountability in the EU governance framework for structural reforms. Our three interrelated proposals—“outcome-based” benchmarking; better use of existing EU processes to strengthen oversight and reduce discretion; and improved financial incentives—could help advance reforms. Ex post monitoring by an independent EU-level “structural council” and ex ante policy innovation by national productivity councils could strengthen accountability and ownership. Deeper governance reforms should be considered in the medium-term with a view toward a greater EU role in promoting convergence.
Two years ago, citizens in the Arab world—fired by their ideals and visions of a better life—ignited a social movement that inspired people around the globe. In Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen—the so-called Arab countries in transition—people embraced change, ushering in a new era. This issue of F&D looks at the difficulties of this transition, focusing on long-standing forces that shape the region’s economy and offering options for moving ahead to achieve strong, inclusive growth. • Masood Ahmed, Director of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, maps out an agenda for modernizing and diversifying the region’s economies in “Toward Prosperity for All.” • In “Freedom and Bread Go Together,” Marwan Muasher addresses the intersection of economic progress and political change. • Vali Nasr, in a Point of View column, underscores the vital role small and medium-sized enterprises play in a successful democratic transition. Elsewhere in this issue, we look at how surging oil and gas production in the United States could shake up global energy markets; the effect of uncertainty on economic growth; and Mexico’s competitiveness rebound. F&D's People in Economics series profiles Christina Romer, former chair of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers and an architect of the U.S. stimulus package; and the latest installment in our Back to Basics series explains how structural policies help to both stabilize and strengthen economies.
By combating malaria with mosquito nets or building schools and providing basic sanitation, philanthropy is helping transform the developing world. Rich donors are devoting fortunes—many of them earned through computer software, entertainment, and venture capitalism— to defeating poverty and improving lives, supplementing and in some cases surpassing official aid channels.From billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett to Aliko Dangote and George Soros, the titans of capitalism are backing good causes with their cash. Whether financing new vaccines, building libraries, or buying up Amazon rain forest to protect the environment, philanthropists are supporting innovations and new approaches that are changing lives and building dreams.This issue of F&D looks at the world of targeted giving and social entrepreneurship.“ Philanthropy’s role is to get things started,” says Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who is the world’s most generous giver. “We used foundation funds to set up a system to make market forces work in favor of the poor.” He says that catalytic philanthropy can make a big difference. “Good ideas need evangelists. Forgotten communities need advocates.” Former U.S. President Bill Clinton tells us that networks of creative cooperation between government, business, and civil society can get things done better to solve the world’s most pressing problems.Also in this issue, Prakash Loungani profiles superstar economist Jeffrey Sachs, who helped campaign for debt relief for developing economies and championed the Millennium Development Goals. We look at how, instead of spending commodity price windfalls on physical investments, which are often sources of corruption, governments of poor countries are sometimes well advised to hand some of the income over to their citizens. We examine moves by major central banks to ease our way out of the crisis enveloping advanced economies in our Data Spotlight column, and we hear about how China’s growth inspires creativity in the West.
Stephanie Medina Cas, Mr. Andrew J Swiston, and Mr. Luis D Barrot
This paper studies the potential for the export sector to play a more important role in promoting growth in Central America, Panama, and the Dominican Republic (CAPDR) through deeper intra-regional and global trade integration. CAPDR countries have enacted many free trade agreements and other regional integration initiatives in recent years, but this paper finds that their exports remain below the norm for countries of their size. Several indexes of outward orientation are constructed and suggest that the breadth of geographic trading relationships, depth of integration into global production chains, and degree of technological sophistication of exports in CAPDR are less conducive to higher exports and growth than in fast-growing, export-oriented economies. To boost exports and growth, CAPDR should implement policies to facilitate economic integration, particularly building a customs union, harmonizing trade rules, improving logistics and infrastructure, and enhancing regional cordination.
Regional trade integration is neither a substitute for, nor necessarily a hindrance to, multilateral trade liberalization. With regional agreements continuing to be a prominent part of many countries’ trade policy agendas, it is likely that regional integration and multilateral trade reform will continue to coexist. A new IMF paper explores the appropriate sequencing of joining a regional customs union and the World Trade Organization (WTO). It looks specifically at whether joining the Eurasian Economic Community (EAEC) customs union—a regional arrangement that includes five members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)—facilitates or delays WTO accession for some of these countries. It finds good reasons for smaller economies with relatively liberal trade regimes to join the WTO first.