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International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

This evaluation assesses the IMF’s engagement with countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations (hereafter referred to as fragile states or FCS). The role of the IMF in fragile states has been the subject of considerable debate. It is generally recognized that, with its crisis response and prevention mandate, the IMF has a key role to play in international efforts to help these countries, but critics say that it does not sufficiently appreciate the deep-rooted nature of the difficulties such states face or provide financial and technical resources commensurate with their challenges. While many of the issues that demand attention in these countries are outside the IMF’s core competence, and the Fund often has to operate in an environment where key decisions including by the international community are made at the political level, there have been recurrent calls for the IMF to increase and enhance its engagement. The evaluation explores these and other relevant issues by reviewing the IMF’s overall approaches and how the institution has engaged with a sample of current and former fragile states.1

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

To assess the IMF’s work on FCS, the evaluation poses the following questions:

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The IMF maintains no formal list of fragile states, and it has relied broadly on the approach taken by the World Bank in identifying such countries for internal purposes. First, a low-income country, eligible for International Development Association (IDA) assistance,10 is considered fragile if the three-year moving average of its Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) scores, prepared by the World Bank, is 3.2 or lower.11 Second, and in addition, any country is considered fragile if there has been a United Nations or regional peace-keeping/building operation there during the previous three years or if the CPIA has not been computed because of conflict. The IMF’s definition differs from the World Bank’s in that it uses the three-year CPIA average rather than the annual score.12

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The IMF’s role in fragile states, compared to other member countries, has been particularly important in: (i) providing support in early stages of macroeconomic stabilization after a period of conflict or a natural disaster; (ii) providing a macroeconomic framework valuable for coordinating policies within a country as well as for facilitating engagement by international partners; and (iii) helping to build basic policymaking and institutional capacity in the core areas of IMF expertise. In the view of most stakeholders, the IMF has played its role quite effectively in these areas, though concerns remain that its impact may not have reached full potential.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The need for collaboration and coordination among development partners in FCS work is well recognized throughout the international donor community; it was highlighted by both the 2007 OECD Principles and the 2011 New Deal Principles. Given the limited capacity of many fragile states, all bilateral donors and multilateral agencies need to collaborate and coordinate, but the need is particularly relevant for the IMF, which is a relatively minor player both as a source of financing and as a provider of technical assistance. Moreover, cooperation to form a unified position can in some instances be the most effective way of engaging with FCS over the highly politically charged issues of corruption and governance-related institutional reform. Among the interviewees for this evaluation, virtually every mission chief or resident representative assigned to a fragile state was keenly aware of the need to collaborate with development partners in order to increase the effectiveness of IMF engagement.

International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office

Abstract

The IMF has provided unique and essential services to FCS to restore macroeconomic stability and rebuild core macroeconomic institutions as prerequisites for state building, playing a role in which no other institution can take its place. In this critical role, the IMF is broadly acknowledged to have had a high impact. While the IMF has provided relatively little direct financing, it has catalyzed donor support through its assessment of a country’s economic policies and prospects.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
"Africa's Middle-Class Motor" finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
On dispose de données de plus en plus nombreuses qui montrent qu’un récent regain de prospérité économique en Afrique pourrait être durable. Dans le premier article de notre dossier « La classe moyenne, moteur de l’Afrique », Calestous Juma, professeur à Harvard, note que l’accent a été mis trop longtemps sur l’éradication de la pauvreté grâce à l’aide plutôt que sur la prospérité grâce à de meilleures infrastructures, à l’éducation, à l’entreprenariat et au commerce. Les choses changent aujourd’hui, et les pouvoirs publics privilégient des politiques qui produisent une classe moyenne. La nouvelle classe moyenne africaine n’a peut-être pas le pouvoir d’achat d’une classe moyenne occidentale, mais elle demande suffisamment de biens et de services pour soutenir une croissance économique plus vigoureuse, qui, comme l’indique Antoinette Sayeh, Directrice du Département Afrique du FMI, profite aux plus pauvres. Paul Collier, économiste à l’université d’Oxford, examine une composante cruciale des infrastructures qui sont nécessaires en Afrique : les chemins de fer. Le continent africain est particulièrement adapté au rail, dont le développement a été freiné par des facteurs politiques plutôt qu’économiques. Mais alors même que l’Afrique subsaharienne prospère, les résultats de sa plus grande et plus importante économie, l’Afrique du Sud, ont été médiocres ces dernières années. Nous traçons aussi le profil de Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, la responsable de l’économie du Nigéria, dont les tenues tranchent par leurs couleurs éclatantes. « Pleins feux » prévoit à quoi ressemblera l’Afrique dans cinquante ans à partir des tendances actuelles et « Gros plan » examine la progression du commerce régional en Afrique. Eswar Prasad, professeur à Cornell, se penche sur une inversion des rôles à l’échelle mondiale : ce sont les pays émergents, et non les pays avancés, qui résistent le mieux à la crise économique mondiale. John Quiggin, professeur à l’université de Queensland et auteur de Zombie Economics, se demande si la vente d’entreprises publiques se justifie dans bon nombre de cas. Raghuram Rajan et Rodney Ramcharan, économistes respectivement à l’université de Chicago et à la Réserve fédérale américaine, trouve des explications des cycles actuels d’emballement et d’effondrement des prix des actifs dans l’évolution des prix des terres agricoles aux États-Unis il y a cent ans.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.