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International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper discusses that from shifting demographics to climate change, Southeast Asia confronts a host of challenges. Summoning them will require both resilience and flexibility. Advances in artificial intelligence, including robotics, together with innovations such as 3-D printing and new composite materials, will transform manufacturing processes, making them less labor-intensive while creating opportunities for new products. This will enable new ways of making things and change the drivers of competitiveness. There will be indirect effects as well. For example, aircraft manufacturers, taking advantage of new composite materials such as carbon fibers, have developed a class of superlong-haul aircraft that could bring more tourists to Southeast Asia as relatively cheap point-to-point travel options emerge. The region should still enjoy synergies from globalization and other modes of economic integration, but the form and shape of such integration could change. For Southeast Asia, the next couple of decades could prove exhilarating in terms of the opportunities presented by technology and global growth, but also tumultuous because of the continuing risks, such as those posed by an unreformed and unstable international financial architecture. There clearly is much hard work to be done. Policymakers still have not gotten everything right, but they are heading in the right direction.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper discusses measures needed for structural transformation in Sri Lanka. The government has ambitious plans to achieve upper middle-income country status in 2025 by transforming Sri Lanka in an Indian Ocean Hub for trade, investment, and services. Stable and transparent regulatory systems would make Sri Lanka’s business environment more attractive for long-term investment and support trade integration. Reviewing trade barriers and developing a phased and sequenced strategy for gradual removal of restrictions is a first necessary step toward enabling more competitive trade. In this regard, the authorities’ decision to gradually rationalize para-tariffs and set up automated approval systems is a welcome step. Ongoing open consultative processes on reform strategies can also help building public consensus in support of these important objectives.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the external stability of Niger. Niger’s real effective exchange rate has been depreciating recently, echoing fluctuations of the euro against the US dollar. A model-based analysis of Niger’s external sector suggests that the real effective exchange rate is broadly in line with macroeconomic fundamentals, which is also consistent with the findings of the 2014 external sector assessment. However, broader competitiveness indicators are worrisome, despite some improvement noted in recent years. The recent depreciation of the naira also suggests some weakening in competitiveness, at least with Nigeria.
Ms. Christine Dieterich, Anni Huang, and Mr. Alun H. Thomas
As labor market data is scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), this paper uses household survey data to analyze the determinants of the gender gap in the labor market and its welfare implications for five SSA countries in multinomial logit models with propensity score matching method. The analysis confirms that education opens up opportunities for women to escape agricultural feminization and engage in formal wage employment, but these opportunities diminish when women marry—a disadvantage increasingly relevant when countries develop and urbanization progresses. Opening a household enterprise offers women an alternative avenue to escape low-paid jobs in agriculture, but the increase in per capita income is lower than male-owned household enterprises. These findings underline that improving women’s education needs to be supported by measures to allow married women to keep their jobs in the wage sector.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

La croissance en Afrique subsaharienne a ralenti, après plus d'une décennie de croissance robuste, bien que ce tableau masque des disparités importantes dans la région. Certains pays ont particulièrement souffert de la chute des cours de leurs principaux produits d'exportation. Les pays exportateurs de pétrole, dont le Nigéria et l'Angola, ont été durement touchés par la baisse des recettes et les ajustements budgétaires correspondants, et des pays à revenu intermédiaire tels que l'Afrique du Sud, le Ghana et la Zambie se heurtent également à des conditions défavorables. Ce rapport d'octobre 2015 examine les ajustements que ces pays devront apporter à leurs politiques budgétaires et monétaires pour s'adapter à ce nouvel environnement. Le chapitre 2 s'intéresse à la compétitivité de la région : il analyse l'importante intégration commerciale qui a accompagné la récente période de forte croissance et examine les mesures qui pourraient soutenir de nouvelles sources de croissance. Le chapitre 3 se penche sur les implications de la persistance de fortes inégalités de revenus et entre les sexes en Afrique subsaharienne, et envisage des mesures pour y remédier.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has weakened after more than a decade of solid growth, although this overall outlook masks considerable variation across the region. Some countries have been negatively affected by falling prices of their main commodity exports. Oil-exporting countries, including Nigeria and Angola, have been hit hard by falling revenues and the resulting fiscal adjustments, while middle-income countries such as Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia are also facing unfavorable conditions. This October 2015 report discusses the fiscal and monetary policy adjustments necessary for these countries to adapt to the new environment. Chapter 2 looks at competitiveness in the region, analyzing the substantial trade integration that accompanied the recent period of high growth, and policy actions to nurture new sources of growth. Chapter 3 looks at the implications for the region of persistently high income and gender inequality and ways to reduce them.

International Monetary Fund
This paper reviews the Annual Progress Report on Malawi’s Poverty Reduction Strategy (MPRS). The poverty situation remained high over the implementation period of the MPRS. The government continued funding activities that have been perceived to have an impact on poverty reduction. The MPRS outlined a number of macroeconomic policies that have been adhered to achieve the macroeconomic targets. These policies have been mainly in the form of monetary, fiscal, and structural policies.