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International Monetary Fund

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.

Angus Deaton

Before the world can answer questions about how poverty is reduced, it needs to know how progress can be measured. But estimates of the number of the world’s poor and questions about whether it has been decreasing or increasing have given rise to one of the hottest controversies in the development community. Angus Deaton, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School, who has looked in detail at India’s poverty numbers, has been at the center of this debate. He speaks here with Prakash Loungani of the IMF’s External Relations Department about the dimensions of the problem and what can be done to provide more transparent and more reliable data on the world’s poor.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

Measures of poverty figure prominently in debates on the social impact ofeconomic policies and are now routinely used to design targeted interventions to fight poverty. This, coupled with the prominence given to the UN Millennium Development Goal of halving the poverty rate in the world by 2015 (relative to 1990), highlights the need for close scrutiny of poverty data and measures. At a February 4 IMF Institute seminar, Martin Ravallion, Research Manager in the Development Research Group of the World Bank, reviewed current methods of measuring poverty and discussed their role in the debate over globalization’s impact on poverty and inequality.

Ms. Caroline M Kende-Robb and Mrs. Alison M Scott
This paper reviews some early interim and full PRSPs for countries with which the authors worked during 1999-2000 (Uganda, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Mozambique, Mali and The Gambia). The purpose of the review is to compare and contrast how the PRSP process was established there. It finds that rapid progress was made in implementing the initiative in all the countries, increasing commitment to poverty reduction amongst government and donors and encouraging broader participation in the policy dialogue. However, there was considerable variation between the cases, reflecting different local contexts and capacities.
Ms. Caroline M Kende-Robb
The objective of this paper is to present some early experiences of poverty and social impact analysis (PSIA) from the PRGF-supported programs in the African Department. The paper illustrates that many staff country reports have taken a first step toward PSIA by making more explicit the links between poverty and policies. Various examples highlight that even though relationships can be complex and analysis, as a result, may not be definitive, it is possible to assess some of the potential poverty effects even in countries with limited data, and therefore contribute to a more informed policy debate and design. The paper concludes that PSIA can help design policies that are more pro-poor, better define appropriate compensatory and complementary measures where appropriate, and support country ownership of reforms by promoting a public debate on trade-offs between policy choices. In light of this, the paper proposes that PRGF policy advice would benefit from more systematic PSIA and that staff country reports could report more on the potential policy trade-offs and poverty outcomes based on PSIA.
International Monetary Fund
Developing and transition economies are prone to financial crises, including balance of payments and banking crises. These crises affect poverty and the distribution of income through a variety of channels: slowdowns in economic activity, relative price changes, and fiscal retrenchment, among others. This paper deals with the impact of financial crises on the incidence of poverty and income distribution, and discusses policy options that can be considered by governments in the aftermath of crises. Empirical evidence, based on both macro- and microlevel data, shows that financial crises are associated with an increase in poverty and, in some cases, income inequality. The provison of targeted safety nets and the protection of specific social programs from fiscal retrenchment remain the main short-term propoor policy responses to financial crises.
Mr. Alexei P Kireyev
The paper examines the poverty-reducing and distributional characteristics of Djibouti’s economic growth, and discusses policies that might help make growth more inclusive. It covers the period between 2002 and 2013, for which comparable household surveys are available. The main findings are that while in the past decade the overall level of poverty in Djibouti declined, there have been no clear signs of improvements in either equality or growth inclusiveness. Growth has not been inclusive and benefitted mainly those in the upper part of the income distribution. These conclusions should be treated as indicative. Progress in poverty reduction and inclusiveness would require not only sustained high growth but also the creation of opportunities in sectors with high earning potential for the poor. Better targeted social policies and more attention to the regional distribution of spending would also help reduce poverty and improve inclusiveness.