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Mr. Bob Traa and Ms. Alina Carare

The June 2007 issue of F&D spotlights gender equality. The lead article discusses progress toward fulfilling the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on redressing gender discrimination and empowering women and related MDGs. The section also looks at how budgeting with gender issues in mind can help countries promote gender equality and what needs to be done to get girls from 'excluded' social groups into school. Other articles focus on Asia 10 years after the financial crisis, the implications of China's and India's growing ties with Africa, and making remittances work for Africa. 'Country Focus' looks at the challenges facing Bulgaria now that it has joined the European Union, 'Picture This' highlights the globalization of labor, and 'Back to Basics' gives a primer on microfinance. Two other pieces discuss the efficiency of public spending in Latin America and how countries can use the public sector balance sheet approach to diagnose vulnerabilities that are not immediately visible in the budget.

Mr. Udaibir S Das, Mr. Michael G. Papaioannou, and Christoph Trebesch
Top down spillovers of sovereign default risk can have serious consequences for the private sector in emerging markets. This paper analyzes the effects of these spillovers using firm-level data from 31 emerging market economies. We assess how sovereign risk affects corporate access to international capital markets, in the form of external credit (loans and bond issuances) and equity issuances. The study first analyzes the impact of sovereign debt crises during the 1980s and 1990s. It goes on to examine the 1993 to 2007 period, using additional measures of sovereign risk-sovereign bond spreads and sovereign ratings-as explanatory variables. Overall, we find that sovereign default risk is a crucial determinant of private sector access to capital, be it external debt or equity. We also find that crisis resolution patterns matter and that defaults towards private creditors have stronger adverse consequences than defaults to official creditors.
International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper provides a real exchange rate and competitiveness assessment for Uruguay. It looks at the recent developments in key external competitiveness indicators such as the bilateral real effective exchange rates, export volumes, export market shares, export unit values, unit labor costs as well as foreign direct investment performance. The paper pursues an assessment of the real exchange rate following a broad-based strategy of applying four different approaches, including the purchasing power parity approach, the macroeconomic balance approach, the external sustainability approach, and the equilibrium real exchange rate approach.