The concomitant external shocks experienced in 2008-09 by the East African Community (EAC) countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda and stepped-up support by the IMF—including the SDR allocation—and other donors, are likely to arouse renewed interest in the question of the adequate level of international reserves. This paper discusses the evolution of reserve holdings in EAC countries and uses several tools for assessing reserve adequacy in the region. The analysis suggests that reserve levels in most cases seem to include safety buffers, and thus, do not require immediate action. However, the situation could become tighter if export recovery is delayed or export prices do not pick up. Over the medium term, the desirable reserve path should also be adapted to regional and international integration.
Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Wenjie Chen, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Mr. Herve Joly, and Mr. Fan Yang
This paper assesses the extent of economic and financial integration among the East African Community (EAC) along a number of dimensions and, where possible, whether integration has increased in the wake of the major regional integration policy milestones.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This issue of Finance & Development presents success and works of IMF in the past 75 years since its formation. The IMF’s financial firepower must be increased substantially, particularly in a world of relatively free capital flows. If the world of cooperative globalization is to survive and the IMF is to maintain its role within it, a great deal must change. Some of these changes are within the IMF’s control. The most important challenges for the IMF of tomorrow are, however, those created by the changing world. Global cooperation is needed to reap the benefits and avoid the pitfalls of cross-border capital flows. Cross-border capital flows are neither an unmitigated blessing nor an undoubted curse. Used judiciously, they can be beneficial to recipient countries, making up deficiencies in the availability of long-term risk capital and reducing gaps in local corporate governance. Many emerging market economies have understood that they should build foreign exchange reserves. The IMF model suggests that fluctuations in the exchange rate are the main reason for fluctuations in corporate liquidity in receiving countries.
David M. Cheney, Mr. Robert Brandon Kahn, and Mr. Dominique Desruelle
Against a backdrop of a healthy and expanding global economy, with the lowest inflation in more than thirty years and cautious optimism blanketing global equity markets, finance ministers and central bank governors of advanced and developing countries met in Washington on April 28. The Interim Committee (of the Board of Governors of the IMF), under the chairmanship of Belgium’s Philippe Maystadt, welcomed the prospects for further expansion of world output and trade, the result of sound macroeconomic policies and vigorous structural reforms in many countries. In his opening press conference on April 25, IMF Managing Director Michel Camdessus remarked that global economic prospects warranted “rational exuberance.”