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Gianni De Nicoló,, Sami Geadah,, and Mr. Dmitriy L Rozhkov

This paper describes why the international community needs to act now to stand a chance of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The paper gives example of Ethiopia, one of the poorest countries in the world, with an estimated per capita income of about US$100. According to the World Bank, recent national household surveys find 44 percent of the people in Ethiopia cannot meet basic needs. The paper discusses that Ethiopia in many ways epitomizes why the MDGs are important and why more money is needed to achieve them.

David O. Robinson

Conferences in Bishkek on May 10 and May 12-13 celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Kyrgyz Republic’s national currency and highlighted the economic progress that has been made in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). But participants also had their eyes on the future. What would be needed to sustain the strong recent macroeconomic performance in the region? Boosting trade was high on the list of priorities, as was financial sector development.

International Monetary Fund

This paper examines Azerbaijan Republic’s 2004 Article IV Consultation and Fourth Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility. A long-term oil revenue management strategy has been adopted by the authorities, targeting a path of non-oil deficits over the medium term that seeks to preserve macroeconomic stability and also avoid overstretching implementation capacity. To ensure coherent fiscal policy, annual budgets will need to start from the poverty reduction strategy and incorporate public investment and regional development programs.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper uses a bank-level panel dataset to investigate the determinants of bank interest spreads in Azerbaijan over 2002–2013. The dealership model of Ho and Saunders is applied, supplemented by market structure and macroeconomic environment variables, to assess the extent to which high spreads of banks in Azerbaijan can be related to bank-specific variables or to a low degree of competition, controlling for macroeconomic factors. It is found that interest spreads are affected by operation cost efficiency, credit risk, liquidity risk, bank size, bank diversification, banking sector competition, policy rate, and reserve requirement.
Mr. Gianni De Nicolo, Mr. Sami Geadah, and Mr. Dmitriy L Rozhkov
This paper documents the great divide in the level of financial development between the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) 7 countries and the more advanced economies in transition, in particular those of Central and Eastern Europe and Baltic states. It discusses the roots of financial underdevelopment in the CIS-7 countries by examining the differentials in interest rate spreads between the CIS-7 countries and the transition economies that have achieved faster financial development. The roots of the divide are traced to weaknesses in the institutional infrastructure for financial intermediation, which lead to a combination of low depositor trust in the banking system and high credit risk. High credit risk stems mainly from the poor creditor-rights protection and weak auditing and accounting standards. Financial sector reform strategies that fail to give priority to the resolution of weaknesses in the basic financial infrastructure are unlikely to be successful in letting the CIS-7 countries bridge the great divide.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

This Selected Issues paper uses a bank-level panel dataset to investigate the determinants of bank interest spreads in Azerbaijan over 2002–2013. The dealership model of Ho and Saunders is applied, supplemented by market structure and macroeconomic environment variables, to assess the extent to which high spreads of banks in Azerbaijan can be related to bank-specific variables or to a low degree of competition, controlling for macroeconomic factors. It is found that interest spreads are affected by operation cost efficiency, credit risk, liquidity risk, bank size, bank diversification, banking sector competition, policy rate, and reserve requirement.

International Monetary Fund

This 2007 Article IV Consultation highlights that Azerbaijan’s real GDP growth accelerated to 31 percent in 2006, driven by rapidly increasing oil production and transportation. Non-oil real GDP, excluding oil and gas transportation, grew by about 8 percent, as nontradable sectors benefited from ramped up government spending and rapidly growing banking credit. Inflation rose into the double digits by August 2006. Progress in other structural reforms has been mixed. The short-term growth and external outlooks remain exceptionally favorable, but keeping inflation from increasing further represents a major challenge.