Mr. Valerio Crispolti, Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Mr. Jun I Kim, Ms. Kazuko Shirono, and Mr. George C. Tsibouris
Low-income countries routinely experience exogenous disturbances—sharp swings in the terms of trade, export demand, natural disasters, and volatile financial flows—that contribute to higher volatility in aggregate output and consumption compared with other countries. Assessing Reserve Adequacy in Low-Income Countries presents the findings of an analysis of a range of external shocks faced by these countries, beginning with a discussion of the impact of external shocks on macroeconomic growth, volatility, and welfare. Although sound macroeconomic and prudential policy frameworks are the first line of defense for limiting vulnerability, international reserves constitute the main form of self-insurance against such shocks. The evidence suggests that low-income countries with reserve coverage above three months of imports were better able to smooth consumption and absorption in the face of external shocks compared with those with lower reserve holdings. The analysis also points to the importance of country characteristics and vulnerabilities in assessing reserve adequacy.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Rene Tapsoba, and Mr. Sampawende J Tapsoba
This paper proposes a new quality of growth index (QGI) for developing countries. The index encompasses both the intrinsic nature and social dimensions of growth, and is computed for over 90 countries for the period 1990-2011. The approach is premised on the fact that not all growth is created equal in terms of social outcomes, and that it does matter how one reaches from one level of income to another for various theoretical and empirical reasons. The paper finds that the quality of growth has been improving in the vast majority of developing countries over the past two decades, although the rate of convergence is relatively slow. At the same time, there are considerable cross-country variations across income levels and regions. Finally, emprirical investigations point to the fact that main factors of the quality of growth are political stability, public pro-poor spending, macroeconomic stability, financial development, institutional quality and external factors such as FDI.
Building on initial discussions of the proposed framework in February/March 2004, and further considerations in September 2004, this paper responds to remaining concerns that need to be resolved to make the framework operational. These concerns relate to the indicative debt-burden thresholds (Section II); the interaction of the framework with the HIPC Initiative (Section III); and the modalities for Bank-Fund collaboration in deriving a common assessment of sustainability (Section IV). This note should be read in conjunction with the original proposal, which presented the wider issues on the use of the indicative thresholds, the evaluation of policies and institutions, and the need for discretion when assessing sustainability on a forward-looking basis.