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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In a news brief issued on June 14, IMF First Deputy Managing Director Stanley Fischer announced that the Executive Board of the IMF had met that day to assess Albania’s request for a second annual arrangement and augmentation of access under the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF). “The request was approved and, as a result, SDR 21.5 million (about $30 million) is available to Albania during the second annual ESAF arrangement.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

On January 26, the East Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC East) held its fourth semiannual steering committee meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, to review progress and agree on the center’s work plans for the year ahead. Priority aims for 2004 include raising the effectiveness of individual projects through close monitoring and follow-up, and building on the good relations with other technical assistance providers in the region to enhance coordination. Later this year, an independent evaluation of AFRITAC East and its counterpart center in West Africa will help to determine whether this regional approach to delivering technical assistance will be extended to other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, Mr. Michael Keen, Mr. Jean-Paul Bodin, and Victoria Summers

This paper highlights that despite unprecedented gains in living standards in some countries over the past few decades, poverty continues as a harsh reality in too much of the developing world. The causes lie in part with poor country governments that have not followed through on the policies and programs needed to accelerate growth and eradicate poverty. But they also reflect the uneven record of development assistance and protectionist trade policies and agricultural subsidies in industrial countries, which have dampened profitable investment and growth in the developing world.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The program of seminars—open to nonofficial visitors as well as officials of governments and international organizations—held September 20–22 in Dubai covered a range of issues of concern to the international community. Among the topics were the implications of the collapsed trade talks in Cancún, foreign direct investment in emerging markets, prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals, the role of the IMF in low-income countries (see box, page 305), and the role of official communication in the success of economic and financial policies (see box, page 306). (For seminars that focused on the Middle East, see IMF Survey, October 6, pages 284—86, and boxes below and on page 307.)