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Mr. Alun H. Thomas
Recent micro level data from East Africa is used to benchmark aggregate data and assess the role of agricultural inputs in explaining variation in crop yields on smallholding plots. Fertilizer, improved seeds, protection against erosion and pesticides improve crop yields in Rwanda and Ethiopia, but not Uganda, possibly associated with lack of use there. With all positive yield determinants in place, wheat and maize yields could increase fourfold. The data hints at the negative effect of climate change on yields and the benefits of accompanying measures to mitigate its adverse impact (access to finance and protection against erosion). The adverse effect of crop damage on yields varies between 12/13 percent (Rwanda, Uganda) to 36 percent (Ethiopia). Protection against erosion and investment financing mitigate these effects considerably.
Jeanne Gobat and Ms. Kristina Kostial
Five years into the ongoing and tragic conflict, the paper analyzes how Syria’s economy and its people have been affected and outlines the challenges in rebuilding the economy. With extreme limitations on information, the findings of the paper are subject to an extraordinary degree of uncertainty. The key messages are: (1) that the devastating civil war has set the country back decades in terms of economic, social and human development. Syria’s GDP today is less than half of what it was before the war started and it could take two decades or more for Syria to return to its pre-conflict GDP levels; and that (2) while reconstructing damaged physical infrastructure will be a monumental task, rebuilding Syria’s human and social capital will be an even greater and lasting challenge.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) highlights the progress report for Guinea. In order to strengthen the dynamics undertaken in the area of planning and implementing the poverty reduction strategy, with the support of its development partners, the government in September 2012 undertook the process of preparing its third PRSP, which covers 2013–2015. PRSP-3 implementation for the 2013 annual period registered disappointing results, explained by the unfavorable domestic as well as international context (political instability and falling commodities prices) and poor performance in growth sectors such as mining. Investments in infrastructures in support of growth increased substantially. Support and strengthening of the efforts made in this area will make it possible to ensure stable GDP growth rates of approximately 7.8 percent between 2013 and 2015. However, investments in the energy sector have yielded disappointing results as a result of the poor condition of the network, commercial management problems, and other factors.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Burkina Faso
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Niger understands the need to adopt a long-term strategy capable of optimizing natural and human resources to promote sustainable economic and social development and inclusive growth. The government has renewed planning efforts in the preparation of three principal strategic documents. These three strategic planning tools are complementary, and the government is committed to implementing them so that they interact with each other synergistically while ensuring dynamic linkages between short-, medium-, and long-term programs.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.