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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Amid encouraging indications of a gradual recovery from the economic crises that have affected many regions of the world, the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the IMF will gather in Washington for the fifty-fourth Annual Meetings, which will formally open on Tuesday, September 28. The meetings will be chaired by Mahesh Acharya, Finance Minister of Nepal.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper analyzes the surprising strength of remittances in Bangladesh and other countries in South Asia and the Philippines in 2009. The empirical analysis suggests that the continued strong growth of remittances in these countries is related to the resilience of non-oil GDP growth in the GCC countries and the surge in the GCC countries’ hiring of migrant workers from South Asia during 2006–08. The remittances-to-GDP ratio in South Asia and the Philippines are likely to remain robust in the near term.

John Spears and Yudelman Montague

Forests in the developing world are used primarily as a source of energy: upward of 1.5 billion people depend on wood for heating and cooking. Forests are also a commercially valuable natural resource but are seldom seen as such. At the present rate of encroachment and destruction, forests in many developing countries will disappear within the next 50 years, unless something is done to prevent it. This article reviews the seriousness of the problem and, through examples of recent loans, outlines the World Bank’s new policy on forestry.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In a news brief issued on August 31, Claudio Loser, Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, announced that agreement had been reached between the Ecuadoran authorities and the IMF staff mission in Quito on an economic policy program that could be supported by the IMF with a Stand-By Arrangement through the end of 2000. The draft Memorandum of Economic Policies will be submitted shortly to the IMF management for endorsement and, following the implementation of agreed actions in the fiscal and banking areas and the receipt of adequate financing assurances, will be presented to the IMF Executive Board for approval.

International Monetary Fund

Nepal’s public debt-to-GDP ratio is set to decline from 68 percent of GDP at end-2002–03 over the medium term. The 2003–04 budget makes a start in implementing the medium-term fiscal strategy. Government spending will be redirected to social sectors, for poverty alleviation, and be better prioritized. Monetary policy would remain geared to supporting the exchange rate peg to the Indian rupee. Further steps are envisaged to strengthen the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), improve the banking environment, and restructure commercial and development banks.

International Monetary Fund

Nepal showed satisfactory macroeconomic performance despite difficult political circumstances. Executive Directors welcomed the comprehensive program of structural reforms that aimed at poverty reduction, and stressed the need for prudent macroeconomic policies. They appreciated the authorities' strategy to address the negative net worth of the two largest banks, and strengthen the financial sector. They encouraged the authorities to maintain an open trade and investment regime, encourage access to world banks, implement the recommendations of the IMF's multisector statistics mission, and improve the macroeconomic database.

International Monetary Fund

This 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that Nepal’s real GDP growth is estimated to have slowed to 0.8 percent in 2001/02 from 5 percent in the previous year (fiscal year ending mid-July). Agricultural growth slowed to less than 2 percent from more than 4 percent, reflecting irregular rainfall. The output of nonagricultural sectors was largely stagnant, with manufacturing and tourism sectors particularly hit hard by the domestic security situation as well as the global slowdown. Inflation was subdued at about 3 percent, reflecting weak domestic demand and stable Indian prices for most of the year.