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.
The Selected Issues paper discusses Cambodia’s poverty and growth, private sector development, public financial management reform, and debt sustainability. It summarizes the Poverty Assessment and describes the regime of tax incentives, costs, and limits for private investment. It also summarizes the assessment of Cambodia’s Public Expenditure Management system and Public Financial Management Reform Program. It highlights the key reform priorities, and provides historical background on Cambodia’s external and domestic debt. It also includes a statistical appendix and a summary of the tax system.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
This Selected Issues paper takes stock of poverty in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Poverty has receded in the DRC over the last decade on the back of gradual stabilization in the security and political situation, strong economic growth, and sharp decline in inflationary pressures. Most social indicators also improved during the period. However, poverty remains pervasive with a level still among the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, and DRC will likely not achieve any of the Millennium Developments Goals by 2015. Policy actions should focus on fostering the development of labor-intensive sector, increasing social spending, and redirecting public resources to the poorest regions of the country.
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.
This paper elaborates the introduction of surveillance that gave the IMF broader responsibilities with respect to oversight of its members’ policies than existed under the par value system. The IMF’s purview has been broadened under the new system but, by the same token, its members are no longer obliged to seek its concurrence in changes in exchange rates. The continuing volatility of exchange rates, and their prolonged divergence from levels that appear to be sustainable over time, have been matters of growing concern.