Mr. Chairman, Governors, honored guests, it is a pleasure to welcome you to these meetings on behalf of the International Monetary Fund. I would also like to extend a special welcome to my friend and colleague Bob Zoellick, and to thank him for his inspiring speech. Bob’s words make it clear that the Fund and the Bank are united by a common purpose—to serve the interests of the people of our member countries—and also a common commitment to reform. Welcome Bob.
International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department
This paper discusses key findings of the Financial System Stability Assessment on Algeria. The global crisis has had virtually no impact on Algeria’s financial system, which remains stable overall but thoroughly underdeveloped. Pervasive exchange controls, widespread public ownership, and an abundance of domestic funding have protected banks from external shocks. Financial sector reforms have been pushed to the backburner by the emergence of global financial and regional political turmoil, with privatization of banks halted and consumer lending suspended. The authorities have also made progress in a number of areas implementing the recommendations of the 2007 Financial Sector Assessment Program update.
Ms. Nicole Laframboise, Ms. Patricia Alonso-Gamo, Mr. Alain Feler, Mrs. Stefania Bazzoni, Mr. Karim A. Nashashibi, and Sebastian Paris Horvitz
This paper offers Algeria's recent experience with macroeconomic stabilization and systemic transformation from a centrally planned to a market economy. The analyses focuses on the period since 1994 when Algeria embarked on a comprehensive reform program that has benefitted from IMF support, first through a one-year Stand-by Arrangement, and from May 1995, through a three-year arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility. To better understand this experience, this paper provides some background information on Algeria's political history and economic developments during the period preceding the Stand-By arrangement.
This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Algerian economy continues to benefit from abundant and increasing hydrocarbon revenues. Real GDP growth is expected to continue at about 5 percent in 2005, led by increased output in the hydrocarbon sector and sustained activity in the construction and services sectors. Executive Directors have welcomed the authorities’ resolve to maintain fiscal sustainability over the medium term. They have stressed the importance of preparing comprehensive medium-term budget projections, and limiting increases in real wages to increases in productivity in the nonhydrocarbon sector.
In 1994–98, Algeria was successful in restoring macroeconomic stability and implementing structural reforms. The fiscal position deteriorated in the first part of 1999, owing to low oil prices. Executive Directors supported the reform program introduced in early 2000, and welcomed its emphasis on accelerating reform of the banking and public sector companies but stressed the need for detailed implementation plans. The economic environment should be improved to promote private economic activity, including domestic and foreign investment. The authorities are urged to accelerate trade liberalization.
Algeria remains heavily dependent on the hydrocarbon sector and still maintains a sizable and inefficient state-owned enterprise sector. Against this background, the paper addresses two different issues with important implications for macroeconomic stability in Algeria. The paper proposes the replacement of directed credit to large loss-making public enterprises with temporary and explicit budget subsidies. It also shows that money, volume of imports, and weather conditions have a strong impact on price movements in the short term, whereas the exchange rate has none.