International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper discusses that from shifting demographics to climate change, Southeast Asia confronts a host of challenges. Summoning them will require both resilience and flexibility. Advances in artificial intelligence, including robotics, together with innovations such as 3-D printing and new composite materials, will transform manufacturing processes, making them less labor-intensive while creating opportunities for new products. This will enable new ways of making things and change the drivers of competitiveness. There will be indirect effects as well. For example, aircraft manufacturers, taking advantage of new composite materials such as carbon fibers, have developed a class of superlong-haul aircraft that could bring more tourists to Southeast Asia as relatively cheap point-to-point travel options emerge. The region should still enjoy synergies from globalization and other modes of economic integration, but the form and shape of such integration could change. For Southeast Asia, the next couple of decades could prove exhilarating in terms of the opportunities presented by technology and global growth, but also tumultuous because of the continuing risks, such as those posed by an unreformed and unstable international financial architecture. There clearly is much hard work to be done. Policymakers still have not gotten everything right, but they are heading in the right direction.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper discusses measures needed for structural transformation in Sri Lanka. The government has ambitious plans to achieve upper middle-income country status in 2025 by transforming Sri Lanka in an Indian Ocean Hub for trade, investment, and services. Stable and transparent regulatory systems would make Sri Lanka’s business environment more attractive for long-term investment and support trade integration. Reviewing trade barriers and developing a phased and sequenced strategy for gradual removal of restrictions is a first necessary step toward enabling more competitive trade. In this regard, the authorities’ decision to gradually rationalize para-tariffs and set up automated approval systems is a welcome step. Ongoing open consultative processes on reform strategies can also help building public consensus in support of these important objectives.
This Selected Issues paper assesses the external stability of Niger. Niger’s real effective exchange rate has been depreciating recently, echoing fluctuations of the euro against the US dollar. A model-based analysis of Niger’s external sector suggests that the real effective exchange rate is broadly in line with macroeconomic fundamentals, which is also consistent with the findings of the 2014 external sector assessment. However, broader competitiveness indicators are worrisome, despite some improvement noted in recent years. The recent depreciation of the naira also suggests some weakening in competitiveness, at least with Nigeria.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
World poverty can be significantly decreased by 2015 if developing and industrial countries implement their commitments to attack its root causes, according to a report released on June 26. The report, entitled A Better World for All, was prepared jointly by the United Nations (UN), the World Bank, the IMF, and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).