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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

In conjunction with its annual Article IV consultation with Japan, IMF staff prepared a background paper (Japan—Selected Issues) on a number of key topics. Two chapters of that paper dealt with the macroeconomic and fiscal implications of Japan’s aging population. The authors—Hamid Faruqee, an Economist in the Research Department, and Martin MÜhleisen, an Economist in the Asia and Pacific Department—speak with the IMF Survey about their findings.

Mr. Insu Kim and Stephen Schwartz

On May 20, the United Nations transferred authority to the newly established government of East Timor. The handover marks East Timor’s formal independence, making the territory the first new country of the 21st century. While offering opportunities, East Timor’s long-awaited independence also poses challenges. The new nation is one of the world’s poorest countries. For at least the next few years, the economy will need to rely on the technical and financial assistance of the international community. The IMF plans to assist East Timor in meeting its postindependence challenges and looks forward soon to welcoming the country as its 184th member.

Erik Milan Cuc and Edgardo Lundbäck

In today’s world, economic integration goes beyond international trade and capital movements and increasingly involves the movement of labor, too. A case in point is Moldova, where large-scale labor emigration and remittance flows have played a dominant role in shaping the country’s recent economic evolution. A new IMF Special Issues paper takes a closer look at the kinds of policies that would allow Moldova to maximize the benefits of its remittance inflows.

Li Cui

In New Zealand, as in the United States, Canada, and Australia, immigration has been a major source of population growth. But unlike in these other countries, net migration flows to New Zealand have been highly volatile, partly reflecting significant emigration. Such swings have had important effects on the cyclical behavior of the economy and, in particular, on unemployment.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Nigeria launched a major reform of its pension system last year that is likely to be closely monitored by other low-income countries. The new Pensions Act sets up a system that replaces a range of largely unregulated and highly diverse pension arrangements. A recent study by Mauricio Villafuerte (IMF Fiscal Affairs Department) analyzes the implications of the pension reforms and explores challenges that lie ahead. He discussed his findings with Jacqueline Irving of the IMF Survey.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Alassane D. Ouattara, a Côte d’lvoire national, is resigning as Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, a position he has held since July 1994. He was Director of the IMF’s African Department from 1984 to 1988 (and was appointed a Counsellor of the IMF in 1987), Governor of the Banque Central des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest from 1988 to 1990, and Prime Minister of Côte d’lvoire from 1990 to 1993. Ouattara spoke with Laura Wallace of the IMF’s External Relations Department about the world economy, debt relief, conflict prevention, social issues, and the IMF’s changing role.

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.