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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

At the African Union summit in Maputo, Mozambique, in July and the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Dubai in late September, African leaders underscored their commitment to sound policies and good governance but expressed strong frustration with donor countries’ slowness in keeping up their end of the bargain. Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané, who has headed the IMF’s African Department for the past two years after serving as Benin’s Minister of Finance and Economy, talks with Laura Wallace about what he sees as the biggest stumbling blocks to ensuring a better future for the African continent.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Leaders of the IMF and the World Bank met for the first time with leaders of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in Geneva on October 22. The meetings followed a number of staff-level discussions since 2002 on issues related to poverty reduction and development. The leaders acknowledged significant areas of common ground between the Bretton Woods institutions and the WCC but also continuing differences that need to be further explored.

International Monetary Fund

Burkina Faso’s request for a Three-Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility is discussed. The proposed new Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) program would help anchor macroeconomic stability and support Burkina Faso’s poverty reduction and growth strategy. Macroeconomic performance under the previous PRGF arrangement has been good. Average real GDP growth has been above 6 percent, inflation has been low and stable, and the current account has improved. Increasing domestic revenues would create fiscal space for poverty-reducing expenditures while keeping debt sustainable.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

In most parts of the world, people 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. Indeed, life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa declined from 50 to 46 years between 1990 and 2001. Moreover, most regions of the developing world will not, at the current pace, reach the Millennium Development Goals for health by 2015—including reducing child and maternal mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Here, we give a snapshot of changes in the world’s health and demographic conditions, and, in the following pages, four articles explore the importance of good health for economic development.

Lyn Squire

Abstract

If developing countries face up to the realities of AIDS and act quickly, millions of lives can be saved. The following three articles on AIDS, written in 1998, look at the epidemic from an economic perspective and outline priorities for developing countries in preventing the spread of HIV and helping people already infected.

Mead Over

Abstract

The AIDS epidemic is straining the limited resources of many developing country governments. How can governments provide support to those affected by AIDS without neglecting others in need or abandoning important development goals?

Prabhat Jha, Joy de Beyer, and Peter S. Heller

Abstract

About 1.1 billion people worldwide smoke, and, with current trends, the number is expected to rise to more than 1.6 billion by 2025. In high-income countries, the number of smokers has, overall, been declining for decades, although it continues to rise in some population groups. In low- and middle-income countries, by contrast, cigarette consumption has been increasing.

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Maria Teresa Guin-Siu, and Mr. Luc E. Leruth

Abstract

The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, launched in 1996, was the first comprehensive effort by the international community to reduce the external debt of the world’s poorest countries. It went beyond earlier debt-relief initiatives in that it included debt from multilateral creditors like the IMF and the World Bank and placed debt relief within an overall framework of poverty reduction. Enhancements made to this Initiative in 1999 further strengthened the links among debt relief, poverty reduction, and social policies.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The sixty-third meeting of the Development Committee was held in Washington on April 30 under the chairmanship of Yashwant Sinha, Minister of Finance of India. The Committee also met on April 29 in joint session with the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) to focus on strengthened cooperation to foster growth and fight poverty in the world’s poorest countries.