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Mr. Jakob E Christensen

This study discusses the role of domestic debt markets in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) based on a new data set covering 27 SSA countries during the 20-year period 1980–2000. The study finds that domestic debt markets in these countries are generally small, highly short term, and often have a narrow investor base. Domestic interest payments present a significant burden to the budget, despite much smaller domestic than foreign indebtedness. The use of domestic debt is also found to have significantly crowded out private sector lending. Finally, the study identifies significant differences among the size, cost, and maturity structure of domestic debt markets in heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs) and non-HIPCs.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus recently spoke with the editors of the IMF Survey about events over the past 13 years, as well as about future developments in the international monetary system and the evolution of the IMF. The interview will be published in two parts—the first, which follows, focuses on developments since 1987. The second part, which looks to the future, will be published in the next issue of the IMF Survey, dated January 10, 2000.

International Monetary Fund

The Gambia’s 2008 Article IV Consultation and Third Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility are discussed. A sharp appreciation of the dalasi in 2007 has mitigated the impact of increases in world food and oil prices. The authorities’ response to the continuing rise in these world prices has been measured; while eliminating sales tax on the rise, they have raised other taxes to compensate for the revenue loss. Petroleum product prices have been adjusted to eliminate an implicit subsidy and bring them in line with import costs.

International Monetary Fund

This paper discusses key findings of the Fifth Review under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) for The Gambia. The Gambia’s external debt position has worsened recently. The global economic crisis is undermining growth and the external balance. Performance on the PRGF-supported program has been generally satisfactory. All quantitative performance criteria for end-March 2009 were met, and the structural measures scheduled through March were implemented. IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for a waiver for the nonobservance of the performance criterion for making the credit reference bureau operational.

Pierre Landell-Mills and Ismail Serageldin

We need to understand more deeply a number of critical issues that confront the World Bank and its member countries before we can transform knowledge into effective actions

International Monetary Fund

This paper discusses the Request from Gambia for a Three-Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and for Additional Interim Assistance Under the Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). The Gambian authorities are requesting a three-year PRGF arrangement to support their economic reform program and to help them make progress toward the HIPC completion point. The program aims to consolidate recently achieved macroeconomic stabilization while addressing the formidable challenges faced by the country, including debt distress, vulnerability to exogenous shocks, and widespread poverty.