The governments of the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, in cooperation with the IMF and the World Bank, launched an international research project in 2004 on the macroeconomic challenges faced by low-income countries. The main goal of the project, which was coordinated by the Global Development Network, was to gain insight from academics based in low-income countries on the effectiveness and scope for improvement of their countries’ macroeconomic policies. Selected research papers generated through the project were presented at a conference held at IMF headquarters in Washington on February 15-16, 2005.
The conference was inaugurated by Anne Krueger, IMF First Deputy Managing Director, followed by remarks by Raghuram Rajan, IMF Chief Economist, and Jeroen Kremers, IMF Executive Director. The first session, dedicated to macroeconomic policies, featured presentations on “Bolivia: Impact of Shocks and Macroeconomic Policy on Household Welfare,” by Gover Barja Daza and Javier Monterrey Arce, discussed by Gabriela Inchauste, and “Macroeconomic Policies and Poverty Reduction in Malawi: What Can We Infer from Panel Data?” by Ephraim Chirwa, discussed by Francisco Ferreira. The second session on shocks and macro-volatility included presentations by Peter Quartey and Theresa Blankson on “Do Migrant Remittances Minimize the Impact of Macro-Volatility on the Poor in Ghana?” and by B.B. Bhattacharya and Sabayasachi Kar on “Shocks, Economic Growth and the Indian Economy.” These papers were discussed by Reena Aggarwal and Ranil Salgado, respectively.
The conference luncheon featured a speech by Charles Soludo, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, on “Challenges of Doing Policy-Oriented Research in Low-Income Countries.” A second session on macroeconomic policies followed, including presentations by Yohane Khamfula on “Macroeconomic Policies, Shocks, and Poverty Reduction in South Africa” and by Tulus Tambunan on “Linkages between Macroeconomic Reform Policies, Shocks, and Poverty Reduction: The Indonesian Case.” Luca Ricci discussed the first paper, and Aart Kraay the second. The next session was devoted to trade liberalization. The first paper by Kabbashi Medani Suliman was on “The Impact of Trade Liberalization on Revenue Mobilization and Stability in Sudan,” and was discussed by Ibrahim El Badawi. The second—on the “Impact of Elimination of Trade Taxes on Poverty and Income Distribution in Ghana” by Vijay K. Bhasin and Samuel Annim—was discussed by Andy Berg.
The last day of the conference began with a presentation by Alan Gelb on “Stabilizing Resource Flows to Meet the Millennium Development Goals.” This was followed by a session on fiscal and monetary policy that included presentations by Tabi Atemnkeng Johannes on “Fiscal Policy and Sectoral Productivity Convergence in Cameroon: Implications for Poverty Reduction” and by Robert Asogwa and Charles Ezema on “Domestic Government Debt Structure, Risk Characteristics and Monetary Policy Conduct: Evidence from Nigeria.” Ernst van Koesveld discussed the first paper, and Torbjorn Becker the second. During the conference luncheon, Shanta Devarajan spoke about “The Differences in the Macroeconomics of Africa versus South Asia.”
In the afternoon, conference participants attended a symposium on “Whither Economic Development?” in which Abhijit Banerjee, Tim Besley, Simon Johnson, Dani Rodrik, and John Williamson joined Arvind Subramanian, the moderator, for an exchange of views on the elusive topic of what drives growth and development. Concluding remarks by Francois Bourguignon, World Bank Chief Economist, and Adrian Wood, Chief Economist of the UK Department for International Development (DFID), closed the conference. Copies of the papers are available.at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/irb/archive.htm. The site also features links to the web cast of the symposium.