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Ms. Sena Eken, Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian, Ms. Susan Fennell, and Mr. Jean-Pierre Chauffour

Abstract

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region covers the enormous area extending from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the borders of Pakistan and Afghanistan in Central Asia and from the Mediterranean littoral to the southern boundaries of the Sahara Desert. The region, defined in this pamphlet to include members of the Arab League, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Israel, comprises 22 countries with a population of 300 million (Box 1). Its size and population alone make the region economically significant, and this significance is enhanced by its vast human, financial, and natural-resource endowments. It is, moreover, strategically located, enjoys long-established economic and financial links with industrial countries, and boasts a respected tradition of trade. Yet, notwithstanding policy gains in recent years, several MENA countries are yet to exploit fully their economic potential, as stagnant per capita growth and underutilized trade and investment opportunities indicate. Indeed, some countries in the region are failing to benefit significantly from the momentous changes now taking place in the world economy.

Mr. James Daniel

Abstract

Este folleto (que actualiza las Directrices de 1995 para el ajuste fiscal) presenta el enfoque del FMI con respecto al ajuste fiscal, y se centra en la importancia de la solidez de las finanzas públicas para promover la estabilidad macroeconómica y el crecimiento. Está estructurado en torno a cinco preguntas prácticas: cuándo realizar un ajuste, cómo evaluar la situación fiscal, cuáles son los factores que determinan el éxito del ajuste, cómo realizar el ajuste y qué instituciones facilitan el ajuste. Aborda temas tales como las políticas tributarias, la sostenibilidad de la deuda, las leyes de responsabilidad fiscal y la transparencia.

Mr. Jeffrey M. Davis

Abstract

Cette brochure aborde certaines des questions et préoccupations auxquelles répond l'approche préconisée par le FMI en matière d'ajustement budgétaire, notamment comment la stabilisation budgétaire et les mesures structurelles peuvent servir à atteindre les objectifs macroéconomiques en matière de croissance, d'inflation et de balance des paiements. Elle couvre des thèmes tels que la fiscalité, les dépenses publiques et les emprunts de l'État, de même que certains aspects budgétaires de la réforme institutionnelle, et propose des possibilités d'action pratiques.

Mr. Kamau Thugge and Mr. Anthony R. Boote

Abstract

Este folleto describe la iniciativa que emprendieron el FMI y el Banco Mundial en 1996 para abordar de manera integral la carga global de la deuda de determinados países pobres muy endeudados (PPME) que estaban aplicando programas de ajuste y reforma con el respaldo de ambas instituciones. El objetivo de esta Iniciativa es reducir la deuda de estos países a niveles sostenibles de modo que puedan cumplir con sus obligaciones corrientes y futuras de servicio de la deuda sin comprometer indebidamente su crecimiento económico. Este folleto describe los fundamentos y las principales características de la Iniciativa, según fue concebida originalmente en 1996, y su implementación hasta el cuarto trimestre de 1999, que culminó en la aprobación a finales de ese año de la Iniciativa Reforzada para los PPME, cuya finalidad es suministrar un alivio de la deuda más profundo y más rápido a un mayor número de países. La Iniciativa Reforzada para los PPME también busca asegurar que el alivio de la deuda esté integrado en una estrategia de reducción de la deuda de alcance más general, formulada con una participación de amplia base y adaptada a las circunstancias de cada país.

Mr. Kamau Thugge and Mr. Anthony R. Boote

Abstract

At their meetings in September 1996, the IMF’s Interim Committee and the IMF and World Bank’s Development Committee endorsed specific proposals put forward jointly by the IMF and the World Bank to address the problems of a limited number of HIPCs that follow sound policies, but for which traditional debt-relief mechanisms are inadequate to secure a sustainable external debt position over the medium term. The Committees requested the two institutions to proceed quickly with the implementation of the Initiative.

Mr. Kamau Thugge and Mr. Anthony R. Boote

Abstract

The HIPC Initiative is not a panacea for all of the economic problems of the HIPCs. Even if, hypothetically, all of the external debts of the HIPCs were forgiven, most would still continue to need large-scale concessional external assistance; as noted earlier, currently their receipts of such assistance are much larger than their debt-service payments. Given their high levels of poverty and limited domestic resources available to meet the costs of social programs that address the needs of the poor, most HIPCs are likely to continue to be dependent on aid. The HIPC Initiative does not imply a cessation of aid to HIPCs: if it leads to withdrawal of aid, it will fail. However, given the pressures on aid budgets in major donor countries, which are likely to prevail in the foreseeable future, continuing aid will be most effective if it catalyzes private financial flows, particularly investment. There is a limit to the extent to which these flows can be debt creating, if future overindebtedness is to be avoided. This suggests a need for institution building that is essential for attracting private investment as well as for providing support for putting in place necessary infrastructure.

Anne O. Krueger

Abstract

The absence of a robust legal framework for sovereign debt restructuring generates important costs. Sovereigns with unsustainable debts often wait too long before they seek a restructuring, leaving both their citizens and their creditors worse off. And when sovereigns finally do opt for restructuring, the process is more protracted than it needs to be and less predictable than creditors would like.

Anne O. Krueger

Abstract

What features of a legal framework would need to be in place in order to establish adequate incentives for debtors and creditors to agree upon a prompt, orderly, and predictable restructuring of unsustainable debt? As will be seen, although the features of existing domestic legislative models provide important guidance as to how to address collective action problems among creditors in the insolvency context, the applicability of these models is limited by the unique characteristics of a sovereign state.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper analyzes the IMF’s Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries, which provides debt relief for low-income countries. The paper highlights that countries affected by the debt crisis of the 1980s received concerted support from the international financial community in the form of Paris Club flow reschedulings, stock-of-debt operations under the Brady plan, and adjustment programs supported by the multilateral financial institutions. These measures proved effective in significantly improving the debt situation of many middle-income countries.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

This paper describes the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and suggests that it should enable HIPCs to exit from the debt-rescheduling process. It argues that implementation of the Initiative should eliminate debt as an impediment to economic development and growth and enable HIPC governments to focus on the difficult policies and reforms required to remove the remaining impediments to achieving sustainable development. The paper describes the implementation of the Initiative through the end of September 1998.