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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.

Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Robert Powell, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta

Abstract

Au cours des dix prochaines années, les pays africains seront les principaux bénéficiaires de l'augmentation de l'aide extérieure, qui vise à les aider à atteindre les objectifs du millénaire pour le développement. Ce manuel vise à aider ces pays à évaluer les effets macroéconomiques de l'expansion de l'aide et à surmonter les défis qu'ils impliquent. Il se veut une référence pour les responsables, les économistes praticiens sur le terrain et le personnel des institutions financières internationales et des organismes donateurs qui participent à l'élaboration de stratégies à moyen terme pour les pays africains, notamment dans le contexte des documents de stratégie pour la réduction de la pauvreté. Le manuel présente cinq directives principales pour l'élaboration de scénarios d'expansion visant à aider les pays à déterminer les questions politiques importantes pour une gestion efficace de l'augmentation des flux d'aide : comment absorber autant d'aide extérieure que possible, comment augmenter la croissance à court et à moyen terme, comment promouvoir la bonne gouvernance et réduire la corruption, comment préparer une stratégie de sortie pour faire face à une diminution de l'aide, et comment réévaluer régulièrement le dosage de mesures.

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

Abstract

This chapter reviews Armenia’s growth performance and poverty indicators since the early 1990s. It seeks to respond to the following four questions: What were the sources of growth? Can the recent rapid growth be sustained? How responsive was poverty reduction to economic growth? What is the minimum annual growth needed for Armenia to reach its poverty target by 2015? The analysis is based on a growth accounting exercise and the results of recent household surveys.

Mr. Milan M Cuc, Mr. Erik J. Lundback, and Mr. Edgardo Ruggiero

Abstract

Labor migration and remittances, which have increasingly become a part of the global landscape, have profound economic and social consequences. Moldova, a small low-income country where an estimated one-third of the economically active population has been working abroad, is an interesting illustration of this trend. Drawing on household survey data, this Special Issues paper explains why Moldovan workers go abroad and how their remittances are used. With this background, it provides insights into policy challenges of coping with, and maximizing benefits from, international labor mobility and the large inflows of remittances.

François Corfmat and Adrien Goorman

Abstract

In addition to the valuation problems addressed in the previous chapters, there are two other areas in which customs systems are commonly vulnerable to significant abuse. The first is in the duty relief regimes that are commonly provided to ensure that—consistent with the basic trade policy objective of imposing import tariffs only on domestic consumption and production—goods in transit, and goods used to produce exports, do not bear duty. The second is in the provision of exemptions from duty often extended, however unwisely, to particular goods, persons, or activities. This chapter and the next—which focuses on the special issues associated with transit—deal with the associated problems of control.

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

Abstract

A critical question in the search for an explanation of Mauritius’s successful growth performance is why the Mauritian economy has been able to continuously diversify its production base.

Mr. Michael Keen

Abstract

The position of customs officer may not be quite the oldest profession in the world, but its lineage is ancient: the Bible refers to a customs collector called Zacchaeus153 (who was corrupt but, happily, reformed). And the profession is still in a state of change—perhaps more so, indeed, than ever.