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International Monetary Fund

Abstract

One result of the IMF's move to increased openness are independent external evaluations of important IMF policies, to complement its own in-house evaluations. This paper, prepared by a team of evaluators, includes in addition to the external evaluation, a statement by Bernd Esdar, Chairman of the Executive Director's group concerned with external evaluations; the summing up by IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus of the Executive Board's discussion of the report; the terms of reference; and the IMF staff's response to the evaluation.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

After over a decade of ESAF and, before it, SAF programs in low-income countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, with uneven outcomes, it is understandable that there should be so much debate in development circles about such programs’ effectiveness as instruments for bringing about sustainable poverty-alleviating growth. In the light of this continuing debate, and as part of its own program of internal evaluation, the Fund has conducted two major reviews of experience under the ESAF. The first one, discussed by the Executive Board in March 1993, covered the performance of 19 countries through mid-1992.1 The second one, discussed by the Board in July 1997, covered countries that began ESAF-supported programs before December 31, 1994, numbering 36.2 But the debate on country performance under the ESAF has continued, with a particular focus on its effectiveness in bringing about poverty-alleviating growth. In the circumstances, the Executive Board decided that the second internal review done by PDR should be complemented by an external evaluation, also to be completed in 1997, using mainly a case study approach.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

ESAF lending is a conditional transfer of resources. Both the conditions and the transfer are distinctive compared with other adjustment lending.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing analysis, and to various suggestions that we make by necessary implication, we propose the following specific recommendations.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

A notable feature of Bangladesh’s first ESAF program in 1990 was that it coincided with the end of military rule under President Ershad. A spate of domestic violence and demonstrations against the Ershad government led to the dissolution of parliament in 1987 and, thereafter, to elections in 1991 that brought to power Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, leader of the Bangladesh National Party and widow of General Ershad’s predecessor. General Zia-ur-Rahman. Given the extreme polarization that has characterized politics in Bangladesh, the process of liberalization meant that, from the beginning, the government’s commitment to the ESAF program would almost certainly be made subject to the demands of political expediency. Even so, the Zia government affirmed its commitment to the program signed in 1990 by the previous government. But this commitment to the program was soon put to the test as political tensions failed to subside. Violent demonstrations led by the opposition Awami League resulted in fresh elections in 1996, which brought into power a government of the Awami League under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The team of external evaluators has presented a rich analysis based on developments in ESAF-supported programs in several low-income countries. This analysis is rooted in the observation, which we share, that adjustment and reform do raise incomes and improve their distribution. The common objective of the Fund staff and the evaluators is how to strengthen the design and implementation of programs so as better to achieve lasting improvements in the economies of ESAF countries. The main issues on which the team offers advice are ones with which the Fund staff and management struggle every day—how to better integrate social considerations into the fabric of a macroeconomic program, how to promote ownership of the sometimes radical policy changes needed, how to gauge progress toward external viability, and how to coordinate with other key players, especially the World Bank, to improve policy advice. The report makes a number of useful recommendations for change and, where conflicting considerations preclude unambiguous positions, places in sharp relief the dilemmas often faced by the Fund staff.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The team of external evaluators has presented a rich analysis based on developments in ESAF-supported programs in several low-income countries. This analysis is rooted in the observation, which we share, that adjustment and reform do raise incomes and improve their distribution. The common objective of the Fund staff and the evaluators is how to strengthen the design and implementation of programs so as better to achieve lasting improvements in the economies of ESAF countries. The main issues on which the team offers advice are ones with which the Fund staff and management struggle every day—how to better integrate social considerations into the fabric of a macroeconomic program, how to promote ownership of the sometimes radical policy changes needed, how to gauge progress toward external viability, and how to coordinate with other key players, especially the World Bank, to improve policy advice. The report makes a number of useful recommendations for change and, where conflicting considerations preclude unambiguous positions, places in sharp relief the dilemmas often faced by the Fund staff.