This chapter presents several papers included in the Bretton Woods conference. The Bretton Woods Conference of 1944 had left many issues of development finance unresolved. In fact, very early, the World Bank took a different direction from that envisaged by its founders. The IMF came into existence on December 27, 1945. The eventual growth in the Fund's activities led to the disappearance of the nonresident Executive Director. A teleological approach in the examination of the IMF’s authority was inspired not only by the principle that the Fund must be effective in the pursuit of its purposes but also by the belief that the Articles, and especially the provisions on the par value system, constituted an international monetary system. In the 1950s, the Bank made an important contribution to helping countries cope with the external debt problems left over from the 1930s. Moreover now it is trying, in cooperation with the IMF, to help countries make necessary adjustments on a case-by-case basis.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an economically diverse region. Despite undertaking economic reforms in many countries, and having considerable success in avoiding crises and achieving macroeconomic stability, the region’s economic performance in the past 30 years has been below potential. This paper takes stock of the region’s relatively weak performance, explores the reasons for this out come, and proposes an agenda for urgent reforms.
The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is an economically diverse region that includes countries with a common heritage, vastly different levels of per capita income, and a common set of challenges (see Box 1). Historically, dependence on oil wealth in many countries and a legacy of central planning in other countries have played major roles in shaping the region’s development strategies.
The population of the Middle East and North Africa is one of the fastest growing in the world, but jobs have not grown as fast as the region’s workforce. This paper addresses questions such as"Can current GDP growth generate more employment, or will higher GDP growth be required?"and "Will the current pattern of job creation-with much of the region’s workforce employed by the public sector-need to change?"
The population of the Middle East and North Africa is one of the fastest growing in the world. It has nearly quadrupled since 1950 and is expected to double over the next 50 years. But jobs have not grown as fast as the region’s workforce. Although employment growth was relatively strong in the 1970s, it failed to keep up with demographic pressures in the 1980s, when oil prices dropped and government-led growth strategies lost steam. The region entered the 1990s with relatively high unemployment rates, which have continued to climb in most countries. The average unemployment rate for the seven largest non-oil or diversified economies in the region—Algeria, Egypt, Iran, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, and Tunisia (hereinafter referred to as the MENA7)—rose from 12.7 percent in 1990 to 15 percent in 2000 (see Table 1). Moreover, underemployment (employment that does not fully meet workers’ capacity or demand for work) remains pervasive.
This is the fourth in our series of articles commemorating the fortieth anniversary of the Bretton Woods conference. Edward Bernstein is eminently qualified to write on this topic. He was a participant at Bretton Woods as a member of the U.S. delegation, after having played a leading role in the technical elaboration of the White Plan—the U.S. proposal for the Fund—as Assistant Director of Monetary Research at the U.S. Treasury. In 1946, he became the Director of the Fund’s Research Department, a post he held for 12 years. As architect and builder, he had a profound influence on the institution and its staff in the formative years. After leaving the Fund in 1958, he established the consulting firm of EMB Ltd. and became its President. Among many other activities, he was Chairman of the U.S. government-appointed Review Commission for Balance of Payments Statistics and a member of the U.S. Advisory Committee on International Monetary Arrangements. Since 1982, he has been a guest scholar at the Brookings Institution. In this essay, he addresses a question that has been on the minds of many in recent years.
The Fund came into existence on December 27, 1945. I joined the staff on October 21, 1946. My remarks will relate largely to the period of the magistracy of Camille Gutt, Ivar Rooth, and Per Jacobsson, the first three Managing Directors. The period came to an end with the death of Per Jacobsson on May 5, 1963.