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Mr. George T. Abed and Mr. Hamid R Davoodi

Abstract

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.

Mr. George T. Abed and Mr. Hamid R Davoodi

Abstract

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.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

At the UN’s Monterrey Summit in March 2002, heads of state and government agreed to broaden and strengthen the participation of developing countries and economies in transition in international decision making and norm setting. But five years later, it is clear that the reform of the IMF’s governance—which encompasses, among other things, quotas, voting rights, and voice—has progressed rather slowly. This situation urgently needs to be turned around, as recognized by the International Monetary and Financial Committee, which regularly reviews progress on the Monterrey consensus. Its April 2006 communiqué stated that the IMF’s effectiveness and credibility as a cooperative institution must be safeguarded and its governance further enhanced, emphasizing the importance of fair voice and representation for all members.

William J. Carrington and Detragiache Enrica

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

International Monetary Fund
This detailed assessment report focuses on antimoney laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) for Armenia. The report reveals that Armenia’s financial system remains small and bank dominated. Total assets of the banking sector accounted for approximately 91 percent of the assets in the financial system. Most banks are domestically owned but there is a major foreign presence in the system. The nonbank financial sector plays a small role in financial intermediation.
International Monetary Fund
The distribution of poor population in Pakistan suggests that almost 75 percent of the poor are clustered around the poverty line. The economy moved to a higher growth trajectory in the vicinity of 6–7 percent real GDP growth during FY 2002–07, and resultantly the poverty declined substantially in FY 2004/05. The productive capacity of the economy remained alien to this higher growth and new industrial capacity was hardly added to the economy. The fiscal year 2007/08 was a volatile year for Pakistan’s economy both on domestic and external fronts.
International Monetary Fund
Although Afghanistan has made significant gains over the years, vulnerabilities remain. The economic program Afghanistan National Development Strategy (ANDS) has been developed to sustain democracy, reduce poverty, and improve growth. ANDS, an important milestone in the rebuilding and development of Afghanistan, serves as its Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) and uses the pillars, principles, and benchmarks of the Afghanistan Compact as a foundation to achieve its MDGs. It has given high priority to the security sector for implementing security policies and strategies and also for building an Afghan National Army for the country's security.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the real GDP growth of Iran is expected to reach 4.3 percent in 2017/18. In the first half of 2017/18, recovery broadened to the non-oil sector, aided by supportive fiscal and monetary policies and a recovery in construction and services activity. The unemployment rate declined to 11.7 percent in the first half of 2017/18, but remained particularly high for youth and women. Inflation averaged 9.9 percent during the first 11 months of 2017/18 aided by moderation in food prices and stable administered prices. Real GDP growth is expected to ease to 4 percent in 2018/19 and is forecast to average 4.5 percent over the medium-term.