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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on Haiti near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. The outbreak has greatly amplified uncertainty and downside risks around the outlook. The IMF staff is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work on assessing its impact and the related policy response in Haiti and globally. Income inequality can hamper economic growth and development. Currently, the financial needs of the rural poor are sustained by microfinance institutions, financial cooperatives, humanitarian programs, and remittance providers. Greater financial inclusion could also be reached via solutions outside of traditional banking practices, including through fintech initiatives. In addition to being a moral imperative, addressing gender inequality is necessary for generating broad-based and inclusive growth. Formal employment opportunities for women need to be expanded. A good start would be to implement the 30 percent quota reserved for women in public-sector appointments, which was introduced in 2012 but never enforced.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Sierra Leone shows that boosting education and its quality for all children yields substantial macroeconomic gains. While investments in the sector will take time to yield results, the potential gains provide ample motivation for sustained, multi-pronged policy interventions along the lines highlighted in the following paragraphs. Equalizing access to education emerges as a critical goal for prosperity that is shared fairly across the population. Attaining free secondary education for all is a critical long-run objective. With limited fiscal space and vast challenges in the sector, evidence-based prioritizing, sequencing and targeting of policies is critical. Careful monitoring of education spending and its impacts will help reassess programs and priorities going forward. Enhancing the governance of the sector to ensure that spending is well-aligned with needs in the various levels is also important. Tackling the education challenge will require coordinated work to overcome hurdles in several sectors. Several factors currently within and beyond the education sector constrain efforts that could effectively reap the economic benefits from education. The results indicate the macroeconomic benefits of education could be substantial, in the order of up to 40 percent of gross domestic product in the long run.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The U.S. economy is in the longest expansion in recorded history. Unemployment is at levels not seen since the late 1960s, real wages are rising, and inflationary pressures remain subdued. Economic activity, while still growing above potential, is expected to slow to around 2.6 percent this year and 1.9 percent in 2020.
Dong Frank Wu and Mr. Friedrich Schneider
This paper is the first attempt to directly explore the long-run nonlinear relationship between the shadow economy and level of development. Using a dataset of 158 countries over the period from 1996 to 2015, our results reveal a robust U-shaped relationship between the shadow economy size and GDP per capita. Our results imply that the shadow economy tends to increase when economic development surpasses a given threshold or at least does not disappear. Our findings suggest that special attention should be given to the country’s level of development when designing policies to tackle issues related to the shadow economy.
Amine Hammadi, Marshall Mills, Nelson Sobrinho, Mr. Vimal V Thakoor, and Ricardo Velloso
Countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) tend to lag those in most other regions in terms of governance and perceptions of corruption. Weak governance undermines economic performance through various channels, including deficiencies in government functions and distortions to economic incentives. It thus stands to reason that SSA countries could strengthen their economic performance by improving governance and reducing corruption. This paper estimates that strengthening governance and mitigating corruption in the region could be associated with large growth dividends in the long run. While the process would take considerable time and effort, moving the average SSA country governance level to the global average could increase the region’s GDP per capita growth by about 1-2 percentage points.
Mr. Bjoern Rother, Ms. Gaelle Pierre, Davide Lombardo, Risto Herrala, Ms. Priscilla Toffano, Mr. Erik Roos, Mr. Allan G Auclair, and Ms. Karina