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Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
Mr. Koshy Mathai, Mr. Christoph Duenwald, Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Rayah Al-Farah, Mr. Hatim Bukhari, Mr. Atif Chaudry, Moataz El-Said, Fozan Fareed, Mrs. Kerstin Gerling, Nghia-Piotr Le, Mr. Franto Ricka, Mr. Cesar Serra, Tetyana Sydorenko, Mr. Sébastien Walker, and Mr. Mohammed Zaher
This paper examines the role of social spending in improving socioeconomic outcomes in the Middle East and Central Asia. In particular, it addresses the following questions: (1) how large is social spending across the region? (2) how do countries in the region fare on socioeconomic outcomes? (3) how important is social spending as a determinant of these outcomes? and (4) how efficient is social spending in the region?
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This paper highlights that agreement on an important package of reforms of vital significance to the future of the international monetary system was reached at a meeting of the Interim Committee of the Board of Governors of the IMF on the International Monetary System in Kingston, Jamaica, on January 7–8, 1976. The reforms include a substantial quota increase for almost all members, as well as an increase in access to the IMF’s resources for all member countries in the period prior to implementation of the increase in their IMF quotas, and some other amendments.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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 paper explains Sierra Leone’s completion point under the Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) and debt relief under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). With enhanced HIPC and MDRI assistance, Sierra Leone will achieve a debt profile below the HIPC threshold. Assurances have been obtained regarding participation in the enhanced HIPC Initiative from creditors representing more than 81 percent of the relief to be provided. The sensitivity analysis shows that Sierra Leone’s external debt sustainability could be jeopardized by adverse shocks and financing on nonconcessional terms.
Ms. Nicole Laframboise and Tea Trumbic
Statistics indicate that the economic and social development of women in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) compares unfavorably with most regions in the world. This paper assesses the influence of government expenditure and taxation policies on the economic and social welfare of women in the region. On the expenditure side, we test the explanatory power of public social spending in the determination of key female social indicators. We find that the relatively weak social outcomes for MENA women are not explained by the amount of government social spending, suggesting the answer lies in the efficiency and reach of present spending. With respect to taxation, the main issues in the literature on gender bias in taxation are highlighted and applied in a general manner to the MENA context. Some simple policy recommendations are suggested.
Vybhavi Balasundharam and Ms. Era Dabla-Norris
This paper uses an individual-level survey conducted by the Edelman Trust Barometer in mid-April for 11 advanced and emerging market economies to examine perceptions of government performance in managing the health and economic crisis, beliefs about the future, and attitudes about redistribution. We find that women, non-college educated, the unemployed, and those in non-teleworkable jobs systematically have less favorable perceptions of government responses. Personally experiencing illness or job loss caused by the pandemic can shape people’s beliefs about the future, heightening uncertainties about prolonged job losses, and the imminent threat from automation. Economic anxieties are amplified in countries that experienced an early surge in infections followed by successful containment, suggesting that negative beliefs can persist. Support for pro-equality redistributive policies varies, depending on personal experiences and views about the poor. However, we find strong willingness to provide social safety nets for vulnerable individuals and firms by those who have a more favorable perception of government responses, suggesting that effective government actions can promote support for redistributive policies.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Following is a summary of opening remarks by World Bank President James D. Wolfensohn on September 26 in Prague. The full text of his address is available on the World Bank’s website (www.worldbank.org).