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Mr. Peter S. Heller and Mr. Alan A. Tait

International expenditure norms could be used widely both for national budgeting and planning and for international comparisons of government outlays. The authors report on an exercise which derived workable norms based on the functional and economic expenditure patterns of over 90 countries and present some of the results of using these norms.

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Malta’s economy is growing strongly. Real GDP growth has been one of the highest in the euro area since the beginning of the crisis, supported by vibrant domestic demand, large infrastructure projects, and a stable banking sector. Unemployment is at historical lows, and labor participation is increasing. The current account remains in surplus, and the external position is broadly in line with fundamentals. Growth is expected to remain solid in 2016–17, driven initially by domestic demand and later by a gradual recovery of external demand. Inflation is projected to pick up gradually owing to the positive output gap and higher imported inflation on account of the weaker exchange rate.
Mr. Ralph Chami, Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Anjali Garg, and Connel Fullenkamp
Using data on the distribution of migrants from Africa, GDP growth forecasts for host countries, and after estimating remittance multipliers in recipient countries, this paper estimates the impact of the global economic crisis on African GDP via the remittance channel during 2009-2010. It forecasts remittance declines into African countries of between 3 and 14 percentage points, with migrants to Europe hardest hit while migrants within Africa relatively unaffected by the crisis. The estimated impact on GDP for relatively remittance-dependent countries is 2 percent for 2009, but will likely be short-lived, as host country income is projected to rise in 2010.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Swaziland's growth has been recovering since the 2010-11 fiscal crisis, albeit at a slower pace recently. Growth recovery following the fiscal crisis was broadly supported by the manufacturing and service sectors. In 2015, however, growth is expected to slow, owing to adverse weather conditions and a slowdown in tourism and transport sectors. Swaziland's growth outlook is projected to remain subdued over the medium term, while it is clouded with downside risks. Growth is expected to slow in 2016/17, followed by a modest recovery in the following years.

International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix paper outlines the recent developments in the political and security situation in Congo. It reviews economic performance during 1970–2003, including in the context of IMF-supported programs. The paper also reviews recent developments in public finance management, and examines the constraints on growth and poverty reduction. The sources of economic growth during 1970–2003 are analyzed. The paper also discusses the feasibility of an oil fiscal rule, and notes some key lessons and challenges for the Congo.

International Monetary Fund

This 2007 Article IV Consultation highlights that real GDP growth of Solomon Islands rose to an estimated 6 percent in 2006, driven by fish, palm oil production, and services. However, it is expected to ease to 5½ percent in 2007, as a further escalation in logging will be likely offset by lower growth of fish and traditional crops. With the natural forest expected to be depleted within the next few years, structural reforms are necessary to generate higher sustainable growth, raise living standards, and reduce the economy’s vulnerability to shocks.

International Monetary Fund

The 2008 Article IV Consultation with Solomon Islands discusses an economic outlook that hinges critically on developing nonlogging sources of growth and exports to offset the expected decline in logging activity. The country remains beset with poor infrastructure, land ownership issues, a shortage of skilled labor, and unreliable and costly basic services. Executive Directors recommended that the central bank seek to develop financial markets further and make greater use of interest rate mechanisms of monetary control. To avoid placing undue burden on monetary policy, fiscal policy needs to play a supportive role.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper reviews the self-help housing project in El Salvador. The paper highlights that projects like this one become community efforts in a real sense. The families participate in road building, construction, digging trenches, and pipe-laying, under supervision. The Fundación Salvadoreña de Desarrollo y Vivienda Mi'nima (FSVM) is the executing agency in this self-help project involving a US$6 million International Development Association (IDA) credit and a US$2.5 million loan from the World Bank to the government of El Salvador. The FSVM has already completed about 1,020 fully serviced lots for families with monthly incomes below US$120.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper examines the policy of protectionism in world trade. It reviews alternatives to trade restrictions, factors influencing trade policies, and implications of protection for developing countries. The paper highlights that the rise in protectionist pressures is worrisome, because the likelihood of chain reactions toward more protectionism generated by individual restrictive actions is greatest in a setting of slow economic growth and highly interdependent economies. The paper also analyzes capital utilization in the manufacturing enterprises.