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International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper reviews the self-help housing project in El Salvador. The paper highlights that projects like this one become community efforts in a real sense. The families participate in road building, construction, digging trenches, and pipe-laying, under supervision. The Fundación Salvadoreña de Desarrollo y Vivienda Mi'nima (FSVM) is the executing agency in this self-help project involving a US$6 million International Development Association (IDA) credit and a US$2.5 million loan from the World Bank to the government of El Salvador. The FSVM has already completed about 1,020 fully serviced lots for families with monthly incomes below US$120.

Martin Shivanan

This paper describes what the limits to growth are. The paper highlights that many critical variables in global society—particularly population and industrial production—have been growing at a constant percentage rate so that, by now, the absolute increase each year is extremely large. Such increases will become increasingly unmanageable unless deliberate action is taken to prevent such exponential growth. The paper also underscores that physical resources—particularly cultivable land and nonrenewable minerals—and the earth’s capacity to “absorb” pollution are finite.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper analyzes why the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has lagged in growth and globalization. Despite attempts to spur recovery and initiate structural reforms, many countries in the region remain on a slow growth path, effectively sidelined from globalization and the benefits of closer economic integration with the rest of the world. The benefits from oil failed to generate a sustained growth dynamic or bring about greater regional economic integration. The paper highlights that the slowdown in economic reforms is a key factor for the economic depression in the MENA region.

Raghuram Rajan and Mr. Arvind Subramanian
We examine the effects of aid on growth-- in cross-sectional and panel data--after correcting for the bias that aid typically goes to poorer countries, or to countries after poor performance. Even after this correction, we find little robust evidence of a positive (or negative) relationship between aid inflows into a country and its economic growth. We also find no evidence that aid works better in better policy or geographical environments, or that certain forms of aid work better than others. Our findings, which relate to the past, do not imply that aid cannot be beneficial in the future. But they do suggest that for aid to be effective in the future, the aid apparatus will have to be rethought. Our findings raise the question: what aspects of aid offset what ought to be the indisputable growth enhancing effects of resource transfers? Thus, our findings support efforts under way at national and international levels to understand and improve aid effectiveness.
CLAIRE LIUKSILA

For the latest thinking about the international financial system, monetary policy, economic development, poverty reduction, and other critical issues, subscribe to Finance & Development (F&D). This lively quarterly magazine brings you in-depth analyses of these and other subjects by the IMF’s own staff as well as by prominent international experts. Articles are written for lay readers who want to enrich their understanding of the workings of the global economy and the policies and activities of the IMF.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper describes the need for a new framework for international resource transfers. The paper highlights that the only international deal that presently exists on resource transfers is enshrined in the acceptance by the rich nations of a target of 1 percent of gross national product, with 0.7 percent as official development assistance on fairly concessional terms. However, the acceptance of this target by rich nations was grudgingly slow, and the actual performance has been most disappointing.

International Monetary Fund
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a uniquely severe synchronized shock across the global economy, in turn leading numerous member countries to request substantial financial assistance from the Fund. The Executive Board responded to members’ needs by increasing the access limits under the Fund’s emergency financing instruments by 50 percent of quota for a period of 6 months (until October 5, 2020), subject to a possible extension by the Executive Board.