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Mr. Charles Collyns

Abstract

This paper discusses the operations of a wide range of central banking institutions in developing countries. The considerable diversity of economic, financial, and political conditions within the Third World has brought forth a wide variety of central banking institutions. Four polar types have been identified as providing coherent alternatives to the central bank. Historical experience certainly indicates that legislation on its own may not be enough to guarantee prudent behavior. Although many countries' central banking institutions have not yet come close to violating foreign exchange cover requirements or restrictions on government lending, in other cases the rules have simply been sidestepped by technical adjustments, altered expediently, or merely ignored. The organizational structure established by legislation probably plays a more positive part in determining a central banking institution's characteristic behavior. Operating procedures, channels of communication, and lines of command all exert some influence on where and how decisions are made in practice. The balance of power between government and monetary authority does not only depend on personality and outside support but will also be influenced by the institutional framework in which their interaction is established.

Ugo Fasano and Mr. Zubair Iqbal

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.

J. V. Mládek

While the countries of Western Europe and Central America ponder on whether their currencies should be united, countries in Africa can offer some practical lessons based on experience with currency unions.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In late October, IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato wound up a four-day visit to the Middle East after consulting with policymakers in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, and Egypt. During the visit, he also inaugurated the Middle East Technical Assistance Center (METAC) in Beirut (see box below). The center has been set up by the IMF to facilitate technical assistance to the region, especially to help meet the massive institution-building needs of countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Sudan, and the West Bank and Gaza that have been suffering from conflict. Throughout the visit, he urged Middle East leaders to seize the opportunity provided by the global economic recovery and higher oil prices “to build stronger macroeconomic foundations and enlarge savings for the future generations, while at the same time creating an environment that promotes sustained economic growth and job creation by the private sector to meet the rapidly rising employment needs.” He pledged the IMF’s readiness to work closely with all countries in the region to achieve these goals.

Mr. Peter J Kunzel, Phil De Imus, Mr. Edward R Gemayel, Risto Herrala, Mr. Alexei P Kireyev, and Farid Talishli
The Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA) countries are at an important juncture in their economic transition. Following significant economic progress during the 2000s, recent external shocks have revealed the underlying vulnerabilities of the current growth model. Lower commodity prices, weaker remittances, and slower growth in key trading partners reduced CCA growth, weakened external and fiscal balances, and raised public debt. the financial sector was also hit hard by large foreign exchange losses. while commodity prices have recovered somewhat since late 2014, to boost its economic potential, the region needs to find new growth drivers, diversify away from natural resources, remittances, and public spending, and generate much stronger private sector-led activity.
Mr. Alexei P Kireyev, Mr. Boaz Nandwa, Ms. Lorraine Ocampos, Mr. Babacar Sarr, Mr. Ramzy Al Amine, Mr. Allan G Auclair, Mr. Yufei Cai, and Mr. Jean-Francois Dauphin
Individual countries of the Maghreb have achieved substantial progress on trade, but, as a region they remain the least integrated in the world. The share of intraregional trade is less than 5 percent of their total trade, substantially lower than in all other regional trading blocs around the world. Geopolitical considerations and restrictive economic policies have stifled regional integration. Economic policies have been guided by country-level considerations, with little attention to the region, and are not coordinated. Restrictions on trade and capital flows remain substantial and constrain regional integration for the private sector.