Mr. Bjoern Rother, Ms. Gaelle Pierre, Davide Lombardo, Risto Herrala, Ms. Priscilla Toffano, Mr. Erik Roos, Mr. Allan G Auclair, and Ms. Karina Manasseh
In recent decades, the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) has experienced more frequent and severe conflicts than in any other region of the world, exacting a devastating human toll. The region now faces unprecedented challenges, including the emergence of violent non-state actors, significant destruction, and a refugee crisis bigger than any since World War II. This paper raises awareness of the economic costs of conflicts on the countries directly involved and on their neighbors. It argues that appropriate macroeconomic policies can help mitigate the impact of conflicts in the short term, and that fostering higher and more inclusive growth can help address some of the root causes of conflicts over the long term. The paper also highlights the crucial role of external partners, including the IMF, in helping MENA countries tackle these challenges.
Since the onset of the Arab Spring, economic uncertainty in Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia, and Yemen (Arab Countries in Transition, ACTs) has slowed already sluggish growth; worsened unemployment, particularly of youth; undermined business confidence, affected tourist arrivals, and depressed domestic and foreign direct investment. Furthermore, political and social tensions have constrained reform efforts. Assessing policy options as presented in the voluminous literature on the Arab Spring and based on cross-country experience, this paper concludes that sustainable and inclusive growth calls for a two pronged approach: short term measures that revive growth momentum and partially allay popular concerns; complemented with efforts to adjust the public’s expectations and prepare the ground for structural reforms that will deliver the desired longer tem performance.
Mr. Lorenzo E. Bernal-Verdugo, Davide Furceri, and Mr. Dominique M. Guillaume
The aim of this paper is to analyze the dynamic effect of social and political instability on output. Using a panel of up to 183 countries from 1980 to 2010, the results of the paper suggest that social conflicts have a significant and negative impact on output in the short-term with the magnitude of the effect being a function of the intensity of political instability. The results also show that the recovery of output over the medium-term depends on the ability of the country to implement, in the aftermath of a social instability episode, reforms aimed at improving the level of governance. The results are robust to different checks and estimation strategies.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
This evaluation examines the technical assistance (TA) provided by the IMF to its member countries. The evaluation is based on desk reviews of a broad sample of countries, analyses of cross-country data on TA, six in-depth country case studies, reviews of past evaluations, and interviews with IMF staff and other stakeholders. The objective of the IMF TA is to contribute to the development of the productive resources of member countries by enhancing the effectiveness of economic policy and financial management.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
Technical assistance is one of the key services provided by the IMF to member countries—particularly lower income countries. It covers a wide set of activities, from technical assistance to support IMF policy advice to longer-term assistance to support countries’ institutional development. This evaluation report examines the relevance and effectiveness of IMF technical assistance, and derives recommendations for both IMF management and the Executive Board.
Selim Elekdag, Mr. Saade Chami, and Mr. Ivan Tchakarov
This paper uses a variant of the IMF's Global Economy Model (GEM) to estimate the macroeconomic effects of Yemen's full accession into the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). After calibrating the model to Yemen and the GCC countries, several simulations were carried out to estimate the potential impact of economic integration on both. The paper draws two fundamental conclusions. First, further steps in regional integration would enhance competition and produce large economic benefits for both Yemen and the GCC countries. In particular, we show that in some cases economic integration could increase GDP in Yemen by as much as 18 percent and in the GCC by as much as 20 percent over the long run. Second, even if market structures do not improve substantially, GCC enlargement can still generate substantial spillover gains with consumption increasing by up to 7 percent in Yemen and 8 percent in the GCC, respectively.
Civil service reform is often essential to bring about governanceimprovements that are needed for sustainable poverty reduction.A workshop hosted by the World Bank and the IMF in September 2001provided a forum to review the effectiveness of Bank-Fund advice and programs on civil service reform, and to propose ways to improve jointefforts in coming years. Programs in 11 countries were examined, (Benin,Bolivia, Cambodia, Macedonia, Mali, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tanzania,Yemen, Zambia), and macrofiscal and structural outcomes of Bank-Fund workin those countries considered. This book is a joint publication betweenthe IMF and the World Bank.
Ms. Nada Choueiri, Mr. Klaus-Stefan Enders, Mr. Yuri V Sobolev, Mr. Jan Walliser, and Mr. Sherwyn Williams
The 1990s saw the unification of the two Yemens into one nation and a burgeoning of the country's oil sector. This paper examines the structural changes in the Yemeni economy brought about by these and other developments and identifies the reforms needed to move the country toward rapid and sustainable growth, effectively manage its oil wealth, and reduce the widespread poverty. The paper addresses the issue of poverty reduction by providing background and drawing lessons from Yemen's adjustment experience to date.
This paper discusses the timing of monetary integration and supporting economic policies during a rapid and largely uncontrolled process of Korean unification. The paper concludes that the transitory use of a separate currency in each region and supporting economic policies would help limit the initial costs of unification although the extent of the eventual cost reduction would depend critically on the success of ensuing economic reforms in the North during the transition. Maintaining the competitiveness of the northern economy would need to be a primary policy objective in the case of an early introduction of a common currency.