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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY A transition government has been put in place to lead the country to elections in October 2015 and wishes to continue the existing ECF arrangement. The authorities feel the program provides continuity for the transition, and helps safeguard macroeconomic stability, while supporting reforms to address long-standing structural problems. Program performance has been satisfactory, with all performance criteria and most quantitative targets and structural benchmarks met. Staff’s assessment is that the transition authorities have the technical capacity and political will to implement the agreed measures. Growth has been revised downwards following multiple shocks. Reductions in commodity prices for the country’s two leading exports, the impact of Ebola in the region on tourism and services, and political uncertainty leading up to resignation of Compaoré’s government in late October 2014 all contributed to a marked slowdown in growth. Real growth is estimated to have been 4 percent in 2014 and is projected at 5 percent for 2015. Lower fiscal revenues forced large spending reduction/import compression. To eliminate large external and fiscal imbalances implied by the shocks and recent depreciation of the CFAF against the US dollar, through the CFAF peg to the euro, the transition government has reduced spending sharply. Even with spending adjustment, revenue measures, and additional budget support commitments from donors, large reserves drawdown will be required meet balance of payment needs. Together with approval of the delayed 2nd review and the 3rd review, the authorities request 40 percent of quota augmentation of access to help meet immediate balance of payments needs. Forward-looking program commitments encompass wide-ranging measures that have both immediate and longer term impacts. Revenue measures aim to reduce fraud and increase revenue intake, along with passage of the long-awaited revised mining code. Spending measures aim to safeguard priority social spending and contain the public wage bill. Extensive reforms are underway to improve budget transparency and cash management, after cash rationing in 2014 gave rise to domestic arrears. Finally, the authorities will implement recommendations of recent audits of state-owned energy companies, including performance contracts to regularize financial obligations and reduce costs, providing scope for better cost recovery, including through more flexible price-setting, in the future.

Mr. Christian Bogmans, Lama Kiyasseh, Mr. Akito Matsumoto, and Mr. Andrea Pescatori
Not anytime soon. Using a novel dataset covering 127 countries and spanning two centuries, we find evidence for an energy Kuznets curve, with an initial decline of energy demand at low levels of per capita income followed by stages of acceleration and then saturation at high-income levels. Historical trends in energy efficiency have reduced energy demand, globally, by about 1.2 percent per year and have, thus, helped bring forward a plateau in energy demand for high income countries. At middle incomes energy and income move in lockstep. The decline in the manufacturing share of value added, globally, accounted for about 0.2 percentage points of the energy efficiency gains. At the country level, the decline (rise) of the manufacturing sector has reduced (increased) US (China) energy demand by 4.1 (10.7) percent between 1990 and 2017.
Yu Ching Wong

The past decade was a disappointing one for Pacific island countries. As globalization intensified, the region’s population growth outpaced economic growth and the private sector created few jobs. Clearly, “business as usual” offered no prescription for the future. In early April, senior government officials and private sector representatives from Kiribati, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Palau, and Tuvalu joined researchers and officials of multilateral and bilateral donors for a high-level seminar—”Seizing Opportunities for Growth in a Globalizing World”—in Palau. The seminar—co-hosted by the IMF, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency—explored the challenges facing these island economies as they seek their own path to sustainable growth and development.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This paper discusses Madagascar's Staff-Monitored Program (SMP) and Request for Disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). Madagascar's economic recovery has failed to gain momentum in 2015, largely due to external shocks, persistent political instability, and weak governance. Nonetheless, the authorities have implemented an adequate policy mix that has broadly maintained macroeconomic stability. In light of urgent balance of payments needs, the Malagasy authorities are requesting a second disbursement under the RCF, accompanied by a SMP. The IMF staff supports the authorities' request for a disbursement under the RCF based on the policy track record over the past six months.