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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper highlights Rwanda’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The economic impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic is rapidly unfolding with the near-term outlook deteriorating quickly. This has given a rise to significant fiscal and external financing needs. The authorities have acted fast by putting in place measures to help contain and mitigate the spread of the disease. The RCF funds will support the authorities’ efforts by backstopping the decline in international reserves and providing financing to the budget for increased spending aimed at containing the epidemic and mitigating its economic impact. This additional IMF financing also ought to help catalyze further assistance from the international community, preferably in the form of grants. The IMF continues to monitor Rwanda’s situation closely and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support as needed. Monetary policy needs to be data-driven and the central bank should stand ready to provide additional liquidity support if warranted. A flexible exchange rate should be maintained as a shock absorber. The National Bank of Rwanda has taken various measures to help maintain the health of the financial sector and should continue to show flexibility, while encouraging prudent loan restructuring and stepping up reporting requirements.
Mr. Ales Bulir and Mr. Jan Vlcek
Does monetary policy react systematically to macroeconomic innovations? In a sample of 16 countries – operating under various monetary regimes – we find that monetary policy decisions, as expressed in yield curve movements, do react to macroeconomic innovations and these reactions reflect the monetary policy regime. While we find evidence of the primacy of the price stability objective in the inflation targeting countries, links to inflation and the output gap are generally weaker and less systematic in money-targeting and multiple-objective countries.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Cote d’Ivoire’s Sixth Review Under the Arrangement of the Extended Credit Facility and the Extended Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility, and Request for Extension and Augmentation of Access. Côte d’Ivoire has been pursuing a development-oriented policy agenda, and the IMF-supported program in place since 2016 has supported that focus, paving the way for the private sector to become the main driver of growth. The performance under the program has been strong. The medium-term growth prospects remain robust, predicated on continuing prudent macroeconomic policy, furthering financial sector reforms and sustaining structural reforms to bolster private sector-led inclusive growth. Côte d’Ivoire’s reform efforts have resulted in improvements in its business climate in recent years. It will be imperative to continue the reform agenda to further stimulate private sector activity and support inclusive growth, including by improving the energy sector, human capital and financial inclusion, accelerating digitalization, enhancing trade connectivity and governance, expanding the coverage of social safety nets, and reinforcing the statistical apparatus to help better inform economic policy.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue of Finance & Development presents success and works of IMF in the past 75 years since its formation. The IMF’s financial firepower must be increased substantially, particularly in a world of relatively free capital flows. If the world of cooperative globalization is to survive and the IMF is to maintain its role within it, a great deal must change. Some of these changes are within the IMF’s control. The most important challenges for the IMF of tomorrow are, however, those created by the changing world. Global cooperation is needed to reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of cross-border capital flows. Cross-border capital flows are neither an unmitigated blessing nor an undoubted curse. Used judiciously, they can be beneficial to recipient countries, making up deficiencies in the availability of long-term risk capital and reducing gaps in local corporate governance. Many emerging market economies have understood that they should build foreign exchange reserves. The IMF model suggests that fluctuations in the exchange rate are the main reason for fluctuations in corporate liquidity in receiving countries.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This is the tenth and final review of Rwanda’s PSI-program, approved by the Executive Board on December 2, 2013. A concurrent 18-month SCF arrangement was approved on June 8, 2016 to support adjustment policies to eliminate external imbalances. The PSI-supported program was extended three times, on: June 8, 2016; November 19, 2017; and January 12, 2018. When it expires on December 1, 2018, the program will have reached its maximum 5-year limit. Recent Developments. After a dip in 2016–17, real GDP growth has been recovering over the past four quarters. Growth averaged 8.6 percent in the first half of 2018 and, despite a temporary deceleration in Q2, remains in line with projections for 7.2 percent for the year. Growth in the medium term should remain at or higher than historical averages, based on a strong pipeline of tourism and business tourism, new mining operations, more resilient agriculture, new and more diversified exports, and construction of a new airport. Inflation remains low, and expectations within targeted ranges. External balances and reserve buffers continued to improve, while the financial sector remains healthy.
Sumit Agarwal, Thomas Kigabo, Ms. Camelia Minoiu, Mr. Andrea F Presbitero, and Andre Silva
We examine the impact of a large-scale microcredit expansion program on financial access and the transition of previously unbanked borrowers to commercial banks. Using administrative micro-data covering the universe of loans to individuals from a developing country, we show that the program significantly increased access to credit, particularly in less developed areas. This effect is driven by the newly set-up credit cooperatives (U-SACCOs), which grant loans to previously unbanked individuals. A sizable share of first-time borrowers who need a second loan switch to commercial banks, which cream-skim low-risk borrowers and grant them larger, cheaper, and longer-term loans. These borrowers are not riskier than similar individuals already at commercial banks and only initially receive smaller loans. Our results suggest that the microfinance sector, together with a well-functioning credit reference bureau, help mitigate information frictions in credit markets.
Mr. Andrew Berg and Mr. Rafael A Portillo

Abstract

Monetary policy in sub-Sahara Africa (SSA) has undergone an important transformation in recent decades. With the advent of sustained growth and generally stable fiscal policies in much of the region, many countries are now working to modernize their monetary policy frameworks. This book provides a comprehensive view of the many monetary policy issues in sub-Saharan Africa. It reflects an effort to fill a gap in the current literature and collects research by staff of the IMF and other institutions, as well as from policymakers within central banks in SSA. The chapters explore the many dimensions of monetary policy in SSA. This volume will serve as an important reference for academics and policymakers and will inform future policy debates. The book highlights two points, one policy-related and the other methodological. Although these countries differ in important ways from advanced and emerging market countries, the monetary policy issues they face are not fundamentally different from those faced elsewhere. Policy aims to provide an anchor for inflation over the medium term while also responding to external and domestic shocks. Likewise, Sub-Saharan African countries are in the process of modernizing their policy frameworks, by clarifying their objectives and improving their operational frameworks, making policy increasingly forward-looking and improving their forecasting and analytical capacity.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that Rwanda has demonstrated strong macroeconomic policy management and implemented an ambitious development strategy that has resulted in high and inclusive growth, lower poverty and more gender equality, and improved living standards. Growth in 2016 was 5.9 percent, down from 2015, but comparing favorably to growth in the subcontinent. A recovery of growth is expected in 2017–18, owing to good rains and expanding domestic production. A spike in consumer price inflation in early 2017 was driven by food prices. Main risks to economic growth continue to be weather shocks affecting agriculture, regional security issues, and unexpected shifts in external development assistance.