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Mr. Manuel Guitián

This paper reviews the World Bank lending for structural adjustment. The World Bank has always stressed the need to use limited investable resources efficiently. It has attempted to identify investment priorities in recipient countries and lent for projects that promised a high rate of return. The Bank’s Operational Manual defines structural adjustment lending as nonproject lending to support programs of policy and institutional change necessary to modify the structure of an economy so that it can maintain both its growth rate and the viability of its balance of payments in the medium term.

Thomas Reichmann and Mr. Richard T. Stillson

Countries facing temporary balance of payments problems may use Fund resources, usually in the form of stand-by arrangements, to support programs designed to correct maladjustments in their balance of payments. The authors of this article recently conducted a study of such programs. They report here on their analysis and their evaluation of the policies followed by a selected number of countries which used Fund resources under stand-by arrangements.

John W. Lowe

The International Finance Corporation, an affiliate of the World Bank which provides finance for private sector projects in the developing countries, has been involved in providing finance for agribusiness since 1964. This article discusses the Corporation’s experience in this sector.

International Monetary Fund
Colombia’s economic performance has been strong, aided by sound economic policies. Structural reforms and prudent macroeconomic policy management has contributed to higher economic growth and lower inflation. Executive Directors commended the economic strategy, which has increased economic growth and international reserves and reduced unemployment and public debt ratio. Directors emphasized the need for tightening the monetary policy stance and a strong fiscal policy to achieve a “soft landing” from economic boom.. They commended the countercyclical provisioning in the banking system, and emphasized the importance of a comprehensive tax reform.
International Monetary Fund
This 2007 Article IV Consultation highlights that macroeconomic outcomes for Antigua and Barbuda have strengthened significantly in recent years. Real GDP growth averaged 5 percent during 2003–05, and is estimated to have reached 12 percent in 2006. There has been progress in implementing broad structural reforms. On fiscal issues, the authorities intend to enhance revenue performance, including the introduction of a more flexible mechanism for retail fuel pricing in 2008. They also intend to improve the investment climate, reduce skill mismatches, exports, and deregulate telecommunications.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
The economy has experienced seven consecutive years of robust growth, buoyed by high commodity prices, foreign direct investment and expansion of private sector credit. As part of a strategy to sustain growth, reduce poverty and curtail dependence on imported oil, the authorities are pursuing the Amaila Falls Hydro-electric Project (AFHP), entailing investment of about 30 percent of GDP. However, steps by Parliament that delayed important approvals led the private sector partner to withdraw, which could delay the project while additional financing is sought. Meanwhile, public debt remains high—around 60 percent of GDP—limiting the room to finance inclusive growth.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses recent economic developments, the outlook, and risks for the Czech Republic. The economy has been growing at an exceptionally strong pace. Driven by robust domestic demand, output expanded by 4.2 percent—the highest rate in the central and eastern European region—in 2015. Labor market performance has been strong. Fiscal performance was better than budgeted in 2015. The banking sector is stable, and credit growth continues to strengthen. However, economic activity is expected to slow in 2016. Private consumption will remain robust on the heels of higher disposable income and employment, but the projected slowdown in EU-fund absorption will weigh on growth.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
KEY ISSUES Context. Colombia’s economic performance has been robust, underpinned by a very strong policy framework. Last year, real GDP grew by 4.3 percent, with low inflation. The country has a strong external position; the financial system is sound; and fiscal policy remains guided by a structural fiscal balance rule. The authorities intend to undertake an ambitious infrastructure program to be executed through public-private partnerships. Outlook and risks. Real GDP growth is projected to converge to potential (about 4½ percent) in 2014, with inflation remaining within the 2–4 percent target range. The medium-term outlook is favorable, but risks are tilted to the downside. Colombia’s important and growing ties with the global economy expose the economy to external risks. The most important sources of risk are a decline in oil prices, a deterioration in global financial conditions, and volatility from the normalization of monetary policy in the U.S. Near-term policy mix. The current policy mix is broadly adequate. As the ongoing economic recovery takes hold, monetary and fiscal policies are expected to shift to a more neutral stance. Colombia continues to rely on a flexible exchange rate to absorb external shocks. The authorities are also taking advantage of abundant foreign inflows, primarily foreign direct investment, to strengthen their international reserve buffer. Medium-term challenges. Colombia’s key challenge is to sustain strong and inclusive growth with macroeconomic stability. To this purpose, it will be important to: (i) adhere to the fiscal consolidation plan, supporting it with revenue mobilization; (ii) address the infrastructure gap, without increasing fiscal risks; (iii) enhance the social security system by increasing coverage and improving equity, and containing health care costs; (iv) address remaining weaknesses in financial sector supervision; and (v) foster financial inclusion.
International Monetary Fund
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.