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International Monetary Fund
This Joint Staff Advisory Note discusses the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) Second Progress Report for the Republic of Tajikistan. The progress report presents a comprehensive assessment of the nature and dynamics of poverty from various sources and perspectives, and recognizes the challenges ahead for continued progress in reducing the number of people living in poverty. The report fully acknowledges that the poor quality, reliability, and timeliness of statistics for monitoring progress in poverty reduction are owed to the lack of capacity to collect and analyze data and to the weak coordination between state agencies.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx
Sadiki Byombuka, WONG Chiu Ying, Robert Quirk MacBeth, and K.V.A. Iyer

This paper presents a snapshot of changes in the world’s health and demographic conditions. The paper highlights that in most parts of the world, individuals are healthier and living longer, thanks to improved health services and living conditions and the more widespread use of immunization, antibiotics, and better contraceptives. Although this trend is likely to continue, hopes are fading in some regions where progress slowed or stopped in the 1990s, primarily as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Moreover, most regions of the developing world will not reach the Millennium Development Goals for health by 2015.

International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix describes how to improve value-added tax (VAT) compliance in Uganda. The paper highlights that although the VAT in Uganda has a single positive rate and broad coverage, its initial threshold of U Sh 20 million may have been set too low, and a number of items that should have been exempted were zero rated. This paper presents a brief survey of the financial sector of Uganda. Public sector reforms and the privatization program are also discussed.

Abstract

The papers presented in this volume edited by Taher H. Kanaan - the eighth in a series of seminars sponsored by the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Monetary Fund, the IMF, and the World Bank - explore the relationship between economic reforms, growth, employment, and social sector performance. Topics discussed include the political and social dimensions of policies privatization in the social sectors, social safety nets, poverty and the poor, and women, poverty, and population growth.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

Abstract

Most Arab countries have embarked on, or are in the process of formulating, medium-term economic reform policies with an important common objective: sustaining a high level of economic growth. This objective reflects policymakers’ increasing recognition that structural changes and financial stability are needed if their economies are to (1) provide sustainable employment opportunities for the un- and underemployed, as well as for the increasing number of nationals entering the labor force; (2) progress further in improving basic social indicators; and (3) benefit from the important changes taking place in the regional and international economies.

Abstract

This paper discusses the experiences of Jordan, Algeria, and Tunisia with social safety nets. Since the beginning of their developmental efforts, these countries have accorded special attention to social development, adopting strategies that were designed to ameliorate the living standards of the population, particularly low-income groups, and improve the distribution of income. Toward this end, they established elaborate and extensive schemes to provide targeted social services and transfers in cash and kind to these groups and in untargeted services to society at large.

Abstract

Some of the economic benefits of the economic reform policies carried out by Egypt and several other Arab countries began to emerge a few years ago. However, these policies have also given rise to some adverse social effects, particularly for low-income groups. The comprehensiveness of reform implementation is the ultimate major determinant of economic benefits and transient disadvantages to society, namely, the aggravation of poverty and unemployment. It is even quite likely that inconsistent and slow reform could lead to the loss of expected benefits and to the emergence of negative effects.

Abstract

Ever since developing countries in the 1980s introduced a set of macroeconomic measures that are collectively referred to as “adjustment,” scholars and politicians have expressed concern about the effect of adjustment on the poor. The concern usually centers on social development, because adjustment policies may adversely affect the availability of affordable health and education services. This concern is understandable. Adjustment policies include a combination of measures designed to reduce government expenditures, to curtail—at least in the short run—private consumption, and—through changes in trade and exchange rate regimes, taxes, and subsidies—to realign consumer prices with (world) market prices. Such measures often result in price increases for food products, drugs and pharmaceuticals, and (imported) school supplies.