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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

When Ghana’s new Investors Advisory Council (IAC) held its debut meeting on May 3, members identified 18 problem areas in government policy, which have been assigned to relevant ministries for action within six months. They include regulatory reforms related to land ownership and mining and labor laws; safety and security; infrastructure, especially for energy, telecommunications, and information technology; financial services infrastructure; public sector sensitivity to the private sector; restoration of competitiveness to the mining sector; the economy’s dependence on aid and commodity exports; and the need for a partnership among government, private sector industries, and labor.

Mr. Paul Collier

Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This evaluation assesses the IMF’s engagement with countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations (hereafter referred to as fragile states or FCS). The role of the IMF in fragile states has been the subject of considerable debate. It is generally recognized that, with its crisis response and prevention mandate, the IMF has a key role to play in international efforts to help these countries, but critics say that it does not sufficiently appreciate the deep-rooted nature of the difficulties such states face or provide financial and technical resources commensurate with their challenges. While many of the issues that demand attention in these countries are outside the IMF’s core competence, and the Fund often has to operate in an environment where key decisions including by the international community are made at the political level, there have been recurrent calls for the IMF to increase and enhance its engagement. The evaluation explores these and other relevant issues by reviewing the IMF’s overall approaches and how the institution has engaged with a sample of current and former fragile states.1

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

To assess the IMF’s work on FCS, the evaluation poses the following questions:

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The IMF maintains no formal list of fragile states, and it has relied broadly on the approach taken by the World Bank in identifying such countries for internal purposes. First, a low-income country, eligible for International Development Association (IDA) assistance,10 is considered fragile if the three-year moving average of its Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) scores, prepared by the World Bank, is 3.2 or lower.11 Second, and in addition, any country is considered fragile if there has been a United Nations or regional peace-keeping/building operation there during the previous three years or if the CPIA has not been computed because of conflict. The IMF’s definition differs from the World Bank’s in that it uses the three-year CPIA average rather than the annual score.12

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The IMF’s role in fragile states, compared to other member countries, has been particularly important in: (i) providing support in early stages of macroeconomic stabilization after a period of conflict or a natural disaster; (ii) providing a macroeconomic framework valuable for coordinating policies within a country as well as for facilitating engagement by international partners; and (iii) helping to build basic policymaking and institutional capacity in the core areas of IMF expertise. In the view of most stakeholders, the IMF has played its role quite effectively in these areas, though concerns remain that its impact may not have reached full potential.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The need for collaboration and coordination among development partners in FCS work is well recognized throughout the international donor community; it was highlighted by both the 2007 OECD Principles and the 2011 New Deal Principles. Given the limited capacity of many fragile states, all bilateral donors and multilateral agencies need to collaborate and coordinate, but the need is particularly relevant for the IMF, which is a relatively minor player both as a source of financing and as a provider of technical assistance. Moreover, cooperation to form a unified position can in some instances be the most effective way of engaging with FCS over the highly politically charged issues of corruption and governance-related institutional reform. Among the interviewees for this evaluation, virtually every mission chief or resident representative assigned to a fragile state was keenly aware of the need to collaborate with development partners in order to increase the effectiveness of IMF engagement.