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Shelley Winston and Carolina Castellanos

Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.

Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Wenjie Chen, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Mr. Herve Joly, and Mr. Fan Yang
This paper assesses the extent of economic and financial integration among the East African Community (EAC) along a number of dimensions and, where possible, whether integration has increased in the wake of the major regional integration policy milestones.
Uri Dadush and Julia Nielson

'Global Governance: Who's in Charge?' examines the challenges—financial, health, environmental, and trade—facing the international community in the 21st century and asks whether today';s system of global governance is equipped to cope with them. The lead article asserts that the system that served as a model for much of the 20th century is out of date, and it explores what needs to be done to strengthen it. Other articles on this theme look at the recent U.S. subprime market crisis, the differences between financial crises of the 19th and 20th centuries and what future crises will look like, the need for a stronger system of multilateral trade, and how global health threats can be handled. 'People in Economics' profiles Michael Kremer; 'Picture This' describes the changing aid landscape; 'Country Focus' spotlights the United Arab Emirates; and 'Straight Talk' examines the impact of high food prices. Also in this issue, articles examine development in Africa, and 'backcasting' data in Latin America.

International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on West African Economic and Monetary Union presents external stability assessment report. The current account deficit declined in 2014. Although gross international reserve coverage has increased slightly, part of the current account deficit has been financed by a decline in commercial banks’ net foreign assets. Contingent on the implementation of government’s consolidation plans, and helped by a favorable oil price outlook, the current account deficit would further gradually decline and be matched by enough financial inflows in the medium term. According to various metrics, the real exchange rate appears to be broadly aligned with fundamentals. International reserve coverage should increase to provide stronger buffers against immediate short-term risks. Structural competitiveness and investment efficiency improvements will be essential to ensure that the planned large investment programs translate into growth and export gains as well as increased private inflows into the region.
International Monetary Fund
Exporters are permitted to sell their foreign export earnings freely in the exchange market or to retain them in accounts with domestic banks. The surrender requirements for export earnings of coffee and tea have been reduced from 90 percent to 50 percent at end-1996 and eliminated at end-December 1997. The remaining export restriction—a 16 percent ad valorem export tax on coffee that was introduced in April 1998 in place of a variable export tax—has been eliminated effective January 1, 1999.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus, World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn, and World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Mike Moore issued a joint statement to the Third WTO Ministerial Conference in Seattle, Washington, on November 30. Camdessus also addressed the conference separately. Extracts from the joint statement, issued as News Brief 99/78, and Camdessus’s statement follow.