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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Staff Report-Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for El Salvador

International Monetary Fund
This paper describes economic developments in El Salvador during the 1990s. Since 1990, the government has implemented a major economic reform program, including through a greater reliance on market forces. Although risks remain, financial imbalances have been reduced, economic growth has resumed, and inflation has declined. The government also is modernizing the structure of the public sector, including a reform of public expenditure management. The restructuring of the public finances aims to increase public savings, reorient public expenditure toward increased peace-related expenditure, and increase efficiency in delivering services.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses El Salvador’s IMF Staff report on Request for Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RCI). This assistance is expected to help El Salvador direct funds swiftly to the country’s most affected sectors, including the healthcare system. El Salvador has adopted strict measures to prevent and contain the pandemic since early February—even before the first case was diagnosed—including travel restrictions, mandatory quarantine for exposed citizens, suspension of nonessential public and private sector operations, and a nationwide shelter-in-place order. The authorities’ emergency response also comprises measures to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic on the population, including through targeted cash transfers to vulnerable households and tax relief in the most affected economic sectors. IMF financing will help preserve fiscal space and catalyze significant funding from other multilateral institutions. The IMF continues to closely monitor El Salvador’s situation and stands ready to provide policy advice and further support as needed.
International Monetary Fund
This paper describes economic developments in Guatemala during the 1990s. The paper discusses social and institutional expenditures of the peace program. The paper highlights that Guatemala’s illiteracy rate was approximately 44 percent in 1995, the second highest in Latin America. Illiteracy is much higher in the predominantly rural departments (about 65 percent), where the indigenous population is more heavily concentrated, than in Guatemala City (16 percent) and is much higher for women (46 percent) than for men (33 percent). The paper also discusses the tax system and trade regime in Guatemala.
Mr. Javier Kapsoli and Iulia Ruxandra Teodoru
Developing and low-income economies face the challenge of increasing public spending to address sizeable infrastructure and social gaps while simultaneously restoring the fiscal discipline weakened to countervail the effect of the global recession. Increasing the efficiency of social spending could be the key policy to address the dilemma as it allows the optimization of the existing resources by reducing spending inefficiencies. This paper quantifies the efficiency gap in the health and education sectors for a large sample of developing and emerging countries and proposes measures to reduce these gaps for the specific cases of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Rene Tapsoba, and Mr. Sampawende J Tapsoba
This paper proposes a new quality of growth index (QGI) for developing countries. The index encompasses both the intrinsic nature and social dimensions of growth, and is computed for over 90 countries for the period 1990-2011. The approach is premised on the fact that not all growth is created equal in terms of social outcomes, and that it does matter how one reaches from one level of income to another for various theoretical and empirical reasons. The paper finds that the quality of growth has been improving in the vast majority of developing countries over the past two decades, although the rate of convergence is relatively slow. At the same time, there are considerable cross-country variations across income levels and regions. Finally, emprirical investigations point to the fact that main factors of the quality of growth are political stability, public pro-poor spending, macroeconomic stability, financial development, institutional quality and external factors such as FDI.
Miss Randa Sab and Mr. Stephen C. Smith
In the growth literature, evidence on income convergence is mixed. In the development literature, health and education indicators are also often used. This study examines whether health and education levels are converging across countries and calculates their convergence speed, using data from 100 countries during 1970–96. A 3SLS procedure is used in a joint analysis of human capital convergence. The results confirm that investments in education and health are closely linked. We find unconditional convergence for life expectancy and infant survival, and enrollment rates, on average and by gender; and conditional convergence for all human capital indicators, including class size.
Francisco H.G. Ferreira and Michael Walton

This paper reviews the resurgence of Latin America. The paper highlights that much of the region has witnessed a swift and robust recovery from the successive financial crises of 2001–02. Within two years, the region’s economic growth reached 5.6 percent in 2004, a 24-year high. Growth rates of about 4 percent in 2005 and 3¾ percent projected for 2006 are well above historical averages. Mexico and South American countries have gained, in particular, from the surge in fuel, food, and metals prices, and have generally been able to exploit these opportunities by expanding production.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

The Web edition of the IMF Survey is updated several times a week, and contains a wealth of articles about topical policy and economic issues in the news. Access the latest IMF research, read interviews, and listen to podcasts given by top IMF economists on important issues in the global economy. www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/survey/so/home.aspx