In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
This paper describes the need to broaden the agenda for poverty reduction. The broadening of the agenda follows from a growing understanding that poverty is more than low income, a lack of education, and poor health. The poor are frequently powerless to influence the social and economic factors that determine their well being. The paper highlights that a broader definition of poverty requires a broader set of actions to fight it and increases the challenge of measuring poverty and comparing achievement across countries and over time.
The persistent deterioration in the Zimbabwean economy over the past four years poses significant risks to the health of the banking system. Indicators such as the capital adequacy ratio, the ratio of nonperforming loans to total loans, and indicators of profitability, do not yet indicate problems, but they are distorted; for instance, the reported high capital adequacy ratio does not signal the widespread and significant under-provisioning for nonperforming assets and the erosion of capital requirements by inflation; and the low ratio of nonperforming loans to total loans reflects highly negative real interest rates. A strong and effective prudential regulatory environment is essential to ensure that troubled banks are identified and dealt with in a timely manner. While the Banking Act of 1999 significantly enhanced the ability of the Banking Supervision Department (BSD) of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to supervise banks, and the RBZ introduced a policy to deal with troubled banks in 2001, the regulatory environment suffers from key shortcomings. For example, the RBZ does not have the authority to close unviable banks, but requires permission from the Registrar of Banks in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development, and the RBZ is not enforcing regulations in a consistent manner, for example, banks have been receiving liquidity support for extended periods of time.