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International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper discusses that from shifting demographics to climate change, Southeast Asia confronts a host of challenges. Summoning them will require both resilience and flexibility. Advances in artificial intelligence, including robotics, together with innovations such as 3-D printing and new composite materials, will transform manufacturing processes, making them less labor-intensive while creating opportunities for new products. This will enable new ways of making things and change the drivers of competitiveness. There will be indirect effects as well. For example, aircraft manufacturers, taking advantage of new composite materials such as carbon fibers, have developed a class of superlong-haul aircraft that could bring more tourists to Southeast Asia as relatively cheap point-to-point travel options emerge. The region should still enjoy synergies from globalization and other modes of economic integration, but the form and shape of such integration could change. For Southeast Asia, the next couple of decades could prove exhilarating in terms of the opportunities presented by technology and global growth, but also tumultuous because of the continuing risks, such as those posed by an unreformed and unstable international financial architecture. There clearly is much hard work to be done. Policymakers still have not gotten everything right, but they are heading in the right direction.
Mely Caballero-Anthony

Southeast Asia’s refugees and displaced people are victimized by human traffickers, but the crime usually goes unreported Mely Caballero-Anthony

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Economic developments since the completion of the first review under the Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) in June 2018 have been broadly in line with expectations. The program is largely on track. Staff received renewed assurance from President Faure that the large infrastructure projects announced in his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in March 2018 would be implemented within the fiscal targets under the PCI.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper documents the main features of the current monetary policy regime in Mozambique, describe ongoing structural policy changes announced by the central bank, and analyze the main challenges facing the central bank in the process to modernize its monetary policy framework. Recognizing the signaling value of interest rates to anchor inflation expectations and help influence market interest rates, the paper usefully focuses on the needed reforms to enable the central bank to successfully replace monetary aggregates by interest rate as the main instrument of monetary policy. Deepening the understanding of the obstacles on the way to a smooth monetary transmission, further building the central bank inflation forecasting capacity, strengthening the coordination between fiscal and monetary policies, enhancing central bank communications and modernizing the legal framework to ensure central bank operational autonomy are essential to the success of the new monetary regime. Importantly, the presence of a committed and strong technical team and a reform-oriented management should greatly facilitate the implementation of these vital central bank reforms.
Mr. Per G. Fredriksson, Mr. Muthukumara Mani, and Richard Damania
This paper examines the reasons why corruption and policy distortions tend to exhibit a high degree of persistence in certain regimes. We identify circumstances under which a firm seeks to evade regulations by (1) bribing of local inspectors, and (2) lobbying high-level government politicians to resist legal reforms designed to improve judicial efficiency and eliminate corruption. The analysis predicts that in politically unstable regimes, the institutions necessary to monitor and enforce compliance are weak. In such countries, corruption is more pervasive and the compliance with regulations is low. The empirical results support the predictions of the model.
Mr. Muthukumara Mani and Mr. Per G. Fredriksson
We develop and test a theory of the rule of law and environmental policy formation. In our model an increase in the degree of rule of law has two opposing partial effects on environmental policy: first, a greater share of policy decisions are implemented according to law; second, industry bribery efforts increase because more is at stake. Moreover, we find that an increase in corruptibility of policymakers lowers the stringency of environmental policy. The empirical findings suggest that a greater degree of rule of law raises environmental policy stringency, but the effect is lower where corruptibility is high.
International Monetary Fund
This paper analyzes the importance of developing market-enhancing institutions for restoring economic growth in transition economies during 1991–98. The paper’s main finding is that the development of an institutional framework has indeed a significant positive impact on growth, but that progress in achieving macroeconomic stabilization and implementing broad-based economic reforms remain the key determinants of growth in transition economies.
Mr. Pierre Dhonte and Mr. Ishan Kapur
This paper proposes an operational interpretation of the concept of economic governance. It argues that the capacity of governments to credibly ensure a secure economic environment provides an important benchmark against which governance can be evaluated. Such an environment—which is essential for sustained growth in a market economy—can be established through a rules–based system which ensures freedom of entry into the market, access to information, and sanctity of contracts. Since creating a secure economic environment involves profound, far–reaching social change, it has historically been a complex and lengthy process in most societies. However, basing policy prescriptions on this benchmark helps avoid possible conflicts between different social and moral values.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

George T. Abed, a Palestinian and a Jordanian national, took over this summer as Director of the IMF’s Middle Eastern Department. In his distinguished 20-year career at the IMF, he has worked on the Middle East and on fiscal policy issues worldwide. Outside the IMF, he taught at the University of California, Berkeley, and managed a development assistance foundation in Geneva, Switzerland. Laura Wallace spoke with him about the region’s prospects amid political tensions and difficult economic challenges. Besides modernizing the state and liberalizing the region’s economy, he stressed the paramount importance of democracy, human development, and attention to social needs.