The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approach has been broadly accepted as the operational framework for bringing together national policies and development assistance in support of low-income countries’ efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The IMF, the World Bank, and other multilateral and bilateral development agencies are now committed to using the PRSP operational framework to support low-income countries; and the IMF is aligning the content and process of its operations to reflect this commitment.
The IMF is carrying out an extensive research program to examine key macroeconomic issues that confront low-income countries in the design and implementation of their national poverty reduction strategies. Drawing on findings from the 2002 joint World Bank-IMF review of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper approach and the IMF review of the Poverty Reduction Growth Facility, research projects are planned and under way in five priority areas:
IMF studies on the determinants of growth and poverty in low-income countries cover a broad range of themes, though almost all share an empirical approach to research. These studies broadly explore issues of income distribution, social safety nets, and productivity. Several papers have focused more narrowly on growth in sub-Saharan Africa—in particular, the relationship between HIV/AIDS and economic growth. Relatively fewer have dealt with the subject of savings and investment.
Summarizes the for ward-looking analytical work program on macroeconomic issues related to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper approach. The program is evolving through a process that began with a technical workshop; participants from low-income countries, donors, academia, and civil society drafted guidance on selected issues and identified priority research topics. Partners, policymakers, and economic scholars are encouraged to share their perspectives and findings through respective team leaders, whose e-mail addresses are provided. The publication also summarizes IMF analytical work, and contains a bibliography of nearly 1,000 papers.
In most parts of the world, people are healthier and living longer, thanks to improved health services and living conditions and the more widespread use of immunization, antibiotics, and better contraceptives. Although this trend is likely to continue, hopes are fading in some regions where progress slowed or stopped in the 1990s, primarily as a result of the AIDS epidemic. Indeed, life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa declined from 50 to 46 years between 1990 and 2001. Moreover, most regions of the developing world will not, at the current pace, reach the Millennium Development Goals for health by 2015—including reducing child and maternal mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases. Here, we give a snapshot of changes in the world’s health and demographic conditions, and, in the following pages, four articles explore the importance of good health for economic development.
If developing countries face up to the realities of AIDS and act quickly, millions of lives can be saved. The following three articles on AIDS, written in 1998, look at the epidemic from an economic perspective and outline priorities for developing countries in preventing the spread of HIV and helping people already infected.
The AIDS epidemic is straining the limited resources of many developing country governments. How can governments provide support to those affected by AIDS without neglecting others in need or abandoning important development goals?
About 1.1 billion people worldwide smoke, and, with current trends, the number is expected to rise to more than 1.6 billion by 2025. In high-income countries, the number of smokers has, overall, been declining for decades, although it continues to rise in some population groups. In low- and middle-income countries, by contrast, cigarette consumption has been increasing.
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Maria Teresa Guin-Siu, and Mr. Luc E. Leruth
The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative, launched in 1996, was the first comprehensive effort by the international community to reduce the external debt of the world’s poorest countries. It went beyond earlier debt-relief initiatives in that it included debt from multilateral creditors like the IMF and the World Bank and placed debt relief within an overall framework of poverty reduction. Enhancements made to this Initiative in 1999 further strengthened the links among debt relief, poverty reduction, and social policies.
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