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Gilbert T. Brown

In their efforts to speed up development, many less developed countries have favored low agricultural prices that have had adverse effects on food production, income distribution, and economic growth. The author finds that official policies that subsidize and control prices of agricultural products seem to favor the large-scale farmers and better-off urban populations in developing countries. Such policies tend to depress overall food production and the incomes of small-scale farmers and reduce domestic savings and available foreign exchange. He therefore suggests the reduction or ending of price distortions that restrict agricultural output.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper reviews the speech delivered by Mr. Robert S. McNamara, President of the World Bank in Geneva in an address to the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations on July 23, 1979. In McNamara’s opinion, the “massive disparities” of living standards in the world are likely to continue. For his address, Mr. McNamara drew on projections and analyses from the World Development Report, 1979, of the World Bank. Mr. McNamara also emphasized the interdependence of the developed and developing countries.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper reviews the influence of the tropical climate on economic development. The paper highlights that the effect of climate is clearly not the only ruling constraint on economic development. It is claimed that climatic factors severely hamper development through their impact on both human beings and their agriculture. Human economic activity is directly and adversely affected through the widespread extent and impact of diseases; and tropical agriculture suffers in the quality of its soils, its rainfall, and its multiplicity of pests and diseases.

M.M.M. van Gent

Agriculture is receiving increasing attention in economic development, and consulting services play an increasingly important part in its progress.

Bruce Fitzgerald

This paper reviews the World Bank lending for structural adjustment. The World Bank has always stressed the need to use limited investable resources efficiently. It has attempted to identify investment priorities in recipient countries and lent for projects that promised a high rate of return. The Bank’s Operational Manual defines structural adjustment lending as nonproject lending to support programs of policy and institutional change necessary to modify the structure of an economy so that it can maintain both its growth rate and the viability of its balance of payments in the medium term.

Aklilu Habte

How does education serve to promote the economic and the sociocultural development of developing countries? The Director of the Education Department reflects on World Bank lending for education projects in the light of diverse national objectives.

Philippe Bourcier and Mohsen Shirazi

Many developing countries could use natural gas to reduce oil imports or allow larger oil exports. What are the economic, institutional, and contractual issues that need attention?

John Cleave

This paper examines the policy implications of structural changes in financial markets. Domestic financial markets have become less segmented, and the major financial centers more integrated. At the same time, the structural changes in financial markets have improved efficiency by lowering intermediation costs, increasing the ability to hedge financial risks associated with currency, interest rate, and price volatility and opening up access to new sources of savings. The widespread application of computer and telecommunications technology to financial markets has permitted markets to process a significantly larger volume of transactions.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that 1976 was an important year for the IMF. With the end of 1976, the IMF closed its books on a year of virtually unprecedented activity. It launched the New Year with a US$3.9 billion stand-by arrangement for the United Kingdom, the largest ever made for a member country. The outlook at the beginning of 1977 suggests another busy year ahead for the IMF. The proposed second amendment to the IMF’s Articles of Agreement and the increase in members’ quotas are expected to go into effect before the end of the year.