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Dilip Ratha

This paper reviews the resurgence of Latin America. The paper highlights that much of the region has witnessed a swift and robust recovery from the successive financial crises of 2001–02. Within two years, the region’s economic growth reached 5.6 percent in 2004, a 24-year high. Growth rates of about 4 percent in 2005 and 3¾ percent projected for 2006 are well above historical averages. Mexico and South American countries have gained, in particular, from the surge in fuel, food, and metals prices, and have generally been able to exploit these opportunities by expanding production.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper highlights that 1976 was an important year for the IMF. With the end of 1976, the IMF closed its books on a year of virtually unprecedented activity. It launched the New Year with a US$3.9 billion stand-by arrangement for the United Kingdom, the largest ever made for a member country. The outlook at the beginning of 1977 suggests another busy year ahead for the IMF. The proposed second amendment to the IMF’s Articles of Agreement and the increase in members’ quotas are expected to go into effect before the end of the year.

Michael A. Cohen

How will national and local planners face the challenge posed by urban growth in the less developed world? The author outlines the extent of the problem and some methods of tackling it.

Robert L. Ayres

Providing economic opportunities for the poor and building up their capacity to take advantage of those opportunities can help reduce poverty and ensure sustainable growth

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper highlights that IMF activities in the first three months of 1977 were marked by a number of “firsts.” In addition to approving the largest stand-by arrangement in its history—the SDR 3.36 billion for the United Kingdom—the IMF welcomed its first new member of the year: Guinea-Bissau; held its first gold auction on behalf of the Trust Fund under the new schedule of monthly auctions; made its first loan disbursements as a Trustee of the Trust Fund; and held the first sale of gold for “restitution.”

International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This report reviews the IMF’s effort to build fiscal capacity in fragile states. It presents case studies on IMF technical assistance (TA) and capacity development in the fiscal area, provided by its Fiscal Affairs Department in collaboration with the Legal Department, in countries including Afghanistan, Haiti, Kosovo, Liberia, Mali, Myanmar, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste. The details in the case studies in various areas of fiscal policy management shed light on country-specific characteristics, how well IMF TA helped countries address fiscal capacity in the past, and lessons learned that could improve TA strategies and delivery in the future.
Ms. Nicole Laframboise and Mr. Boileau Loko
This paper reviews the literature on the macroeconomic impact of natural disasters and presents the IMF’s role in assisting countries coping with natural catastrophes. Focusing on seven country cases, the paper describes the emergency financing, policy support, and technical assistance provided by the Fund to help governments put together a policy response or build a macro framework to lay the foundation for recovery and/or unlock other external financing. The literature and experience suggests there are ways to strengthen policy frameworks to increase resilience to natural disaster shocks, including identifying the risks and probability of natural disasters and integrating them more explicitly into macro frame-works, increasing flexibility within fiscal frameworks, and improving coordination amongst international partners ex post and ex ante.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper presents a snapshot of changes in the world’s health and demographic conditions. The paper highlights that in most parts of the world, individuals are healthier and living longer, thanks to improved health services and living conditions and the more widespread use of immunization, antibiotics, and better contraceptives. Although this trend is likely to continue, hopes are fading in some regions where progress slowed or stopped in the 1990s, primarily as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Moreover, most regions of the developing world will not reach the Millennium Development Goals for health by 2015.

Daniel P. Hewitt

We need to understand more deeply a number of critical issues that confront the World Bank and its member countries before we can transform knowledge into effective actions

Ambroise Fayolle

'Africa: Making Its Move' explores some of the obstacles facing sub-Saharan Africa as it attempts to capitalize on changes that offer fresh opportunities for growth and poverty reduction. The lead article describes the changes and suggests how Africa can build on them to progress further. Other articles focus on the aid situation, financial sector development, trade, the business environment, and political and policy reform on the continent. 'Country Focus' examines the Central African Economic and Monetary Community, and two guest contributors look at how the international community can help the most fragile states and how oil-producing countries can manage windfall revenues. 'People in Economics' profiles the European Central Bank's first chief economist, Otmar Issing; 'Picture This' examines the global housing slowdown; and 'Back to Basics,' explains current account deficits. Another article discusses the realities of health financing.