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Mr. Peter S. Heller and Mr. William C. Hsiao

Abstract

As a general rule, issues of health care policy have not generally been seen as the domain of macroeconomists. Only in recent years, with the report of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (CMH) (WHO, 2001, 2002), has there been a greater focus on why health issues are relevant to macroeconomic policymakers and, in particular, ministers of finance. That report also provided further support for the prominence of health goals (for example, reduced infant and maternal mortality rates as well as reduced prevalence rates for HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis) in formulating the MDGs. The CMH initiative principally sought to demonstrate that progress in improving health in low-income countries could be a critical factor influencing the growth potential of a country. In particular, the CMH report explored the various ways in which better health status could improve the quality of the labor force; enhance productivity, in both the short and the long run; limit the extent to which catastrophic illnesses can lead to households falling into poverty; raise household saving rates; and reduce fertility rates.3

Mrs. Harinder K Malothra, Mr. Milan M Cuc, Mr. Ulrich Bartsch, and Mr. Menachem Katz

Abstract

Over the last decade, the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of western and southern Africa has become one of the most promising oil-exploration areas in the world. Six countries in the area are by now well-established oil producers, and more are to join their ranks in the near future. Oil-producing countries are faced with some of the same challenges as other natural resource–based countries, but their difficulties seem to be accentuated by the peculiar nature of oil markets and oil production. The main challenges come from the high volatility of oil prices, the enclave nature of the oil sector, the exhaustibility of oil reserves, and the high concentration of revenue flows from the oil sector, which invites rent-seeking behavior and may lead to governance problems. In the past, many oil-producing countries have been disappointed in their expectations that favorable resource endowments would lead to rapid improvements in development indicators. This paper focuses on the policies that have been and should be implemented by the oil-producing countries. It summarizes proceedings of the Workshop on Macroeconomic Policies and Governance in Sub-Saharan African Oil-Exporting Countries, hosted jointly by the African Department of the International Monetary Fund and the Africa Region and the Oil and Gas Policy Unit of the World Bank. The workshop brought together high-level policymakers from African oil-producing countries during April 29–30, 2003, in Douala, Cameroon.

Mr. Christian H. Beddies, Mr. Enrique A Gelbard, Mr. James McHugh, Ms. Laure Redifer, and Mr. Garbis Iradian

Abstract

Despite geographical isolation, trade blockades, and occasional political upheaval, Armenia’s economic performance during the past four years has been remarkable. Growth has averaged nearly 12 percent and poverty has fallen. The country has become a reform leader among CIS countries. This performance reflects a combination of factors, namely a sustained commitment to macroeconomic stability, structural measures undertaken since the mid-1990s, minimal government intervention in the economy, a focus on poverty-reducing policies since 2002, and support from the Armenian diaspora. These factors led to higher domestic and foreign investment, improvements in competitiveness, and a market-driven process of import substitution.

Mr. Peter S. Heller and Mr. William C. Hsiao

Abstract

The CMH was initiated by the WHO as a means of providing an evidence base for economic and financial policymakers in low-income countries on why spending on health was more than simply a consumption good. It sought to make the case that higher spending on health could have significant economic benefits—in fostering higher productivity and growth, over both the short and long term; in making greater use of both available labor resources and even natural resources (where disease vectors may be limiting the capacity to utilize land or resources effectively); as a key instrument in addressing high rates of poverty; and in influencing critical demographic variables (in particular fertility rates) that may be a source of low productivity, dissaving, and low human capital formation.

Mr. Peter S. Heller and Mr. William C. Hsiao

Abstract

Although specific issues confront nations at different stages of development, several issues confront all nations throughout the world. We first present the universal issues, then the ones for each stage.

Mrs. Harinder K Malothra, Mr. Milan M Cuc, Mr. Ulrich Bartsch, and Mr. Menachem Katz

Abstract

While it may not be possible to identify an “optimal” fiscal policy for oil countries in general, the discussions in the previous section provide important issues for consideration by policymakers. In this section, we present some operational issues to help in the design of schemes for the use of oil revenue. This subsection presents (1) the case for a rule-based fiscal policy and (2) possible fiscal rules, including two “extremes” to be used as guideposts for the possible range of expenditure profiles.

Mr. James Y. Yao, Mr. Gamal Z El-Masry, Padamja Khandelwal, and Mr. Emilio Sacerdoti

Abstract

The discussion in the previous chapters leads to some key conclusions. First, the Mauritian growth performance since the 1970s has been exceptional.

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta and Yongzheng Yang

Abstract

Africa is home to some 30 regional trade arrangements (RTAs), many of which are part of deeper regional integration schemes.1 On average, each African country belongs to four RTAs (World Bank, 2004). There has been a renewed push in recent years for broader and deeper preferential trade arrangements in Africa. Some of the previously defunct regional arrangements (e.g., the East African Community) have been revived, while continental institutions—namely, the African Economic Community (AEC), the African Union, and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)—have been launched under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). In addition, African countries are preparing to negotiate FTAs with the European Union (EU) under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs). The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is negotiating an FTA with the United States. South Africa, the largest African economy, has already signed an FTA with the EU.2

Mr. Sanjeev Gupta and Yongzheng Yang

Abstract

The generally disappointing record of African RTAs warrants a reexamination of the underlying assumptions. Is the record disappointing because no preconditions were established to make the RTAs beneficial, dooming them to failure before they even began? Or is this record the result of poor design and/or implementation? What can we learn from the successes of regional trade integration in other parts of the world as well as from Africa’s failures?