The Fabric of Reform examines the effects of economic reform in three African countries in the CFA franc zone (see box on p. 3)— Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, and Mali—all of which gained their independence from France in 1960. Interviews with entrepreneurs, government officials, economists, and citizens help give the viewer insight into the economic gains brought about by reform as well as the challenges these countries continue to face.
1. Foreign investment is important to a country’s development. Ask students to research and report on an industry that was bolstered by foreign investment and the effect that this had on the country’s overall economic development in the decades immediately following the investment.
Country experiences with monetary operations and government securities markets have been highly diverse, but a general pattern seems to have emerged since early 1992: most countries have moved toward more central bank operational autonomy and increased reliance on indirect instruments and on market-based interest rates. In addition, with few exceptions, reforms have led to a slow but sustained growth of the interbank and government securities markets. The sequencing of reforms has varied widely across countries, because of different political and macroeconomic conditions, and faster developments in one central banking area have not always been accompanied by similar progress in others (Table 2.1).
Mr. Malcolm D. Knight, Arne B. Petersen, and Robert T. Price
For the past six years, the central banks of the Baltics, Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union have undertaken ambitious programs of reform.1 The reforms have focused first on stabilizing monetary policy and then on achieving a market-based determination of interest and exchange rates. The reform of central bank operating procedures has been a key piece of the program. Central banks in the 15 countries have been encouraged to manage banking liquidity through market operations with indirect instruments. There have also been closely coordinated reforms to foster foreign exchange markets, interbank money markets, government securities markets, and to strengthen various central bank functions, including the payment system, central bank accounting and internal audit, and banking supervision and restructuring. This volume examines the progress the 15 countries have made in transforming their financial systems, and highlights the substantial progress achieved by central banks in most of the countries.
This guide is designed to facilitate classroom use of The Fabric of Reform, a 30-minute educational video created by the International Monetary Fund. It is intended for use with students in economics and international relations courses at the secondary and postsecondary levels.
Mr. Robert T Price, Mr. Malcolm D. Knight, and Mr. Arne B. Petersen
The following tables provide a summary of the reforms in the key central banking areas for the Baltics, Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union. The tables start with the implementation of monetary policy—specifically, the institutional context in which the central bank operates and its short- and medium-term operating targets, markets and interest rate management, and instruments and operating arrangements. They then move on to developments in the foreign exchange area and priorities for future reform. Significant attention is devoted to banking supervision and bank restructuring—first, the institutional framework of the banking system is covered; then, the structure and performance of the banking system is summarized; and, finally, bank restructuring measures in the individual countries are listed. The chapter concludes with summaries of payment systems and central bank accounting reforms.
As a group, the Baltics, Russia, and other countries of the former Soviet Union have achieved substantial progress in the areas of convertibility, foreign exchange market development, and central bank foreign exchange operations over the last six years. The institutional arrangement for an efficient market-based allocation of foreign exchange is in place in most countries; payments and transfers for current account transactions are free of restrictions, except in a limited number of countries; and several countries maintain a liberal system for capital account transactions, or interpret liberally the restrictions in place. Nominal exchange rates have begun to stabilize in most countries (Figure 3.1). The ratio of gross international reserves to imports also indicates that countries are moving to macroeconomic stabilization (Table 3.1). Foreign exchange markets are usually shallow, however, with banking unsoundness often an obstacle to market deepening.