1 Introduction

International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
January 2004
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The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) approach has been broadly accepted as the operational framework for bringing together national policies and development assistance in support of low-income countries’ efforts to meet the Millennium Development Goals. The IMF, the World Bank, and other multilateral and bilateral development agencies are now committed to using the PRSP operational framework to support low-income countries; and the IMF is aligning the content and process of its operations to reflect this commitment.

It is well recognized, however, that more analytical work is needed over the medium term on issues related to the PRSP approach. In March 2002, the World Bank and the IMF jointly reviewed the PRSP approach, and the IMF reviewed the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Significant knowledge gaps were identified in the development, implementation, and monitoring of national poverty reduction strategies. To address these gaps, the IMF has taken the lead on macroeconomic policy research. The Fund has undertaken a comprehensive research program within its areas of particular competence, and it is helping to coordinate related research by other partners.

A two-stage process has been developed. First, the IMF, the World Bank, and the government of the United Kingdom hosted a technical workshop in April 2003 on macroeconomic issues related to the PRSP approach. The workshop brought together participants from low-income countries, bilateral and multilateral donors, academia, and civil society. They discussed and drafted guidance on selected issues. The workshop also provided a forum to identify priority research topics over the medium term. Second, the IMF and the Bank will convene an international research conference in 2004 on macroeconomic management in low-income countries. This forum will allow development partners, including IMF staff, to share preliminary results on topics identified at the technical workshop.


This pamphlet provides a summary of the forward-looking analytical work program that has evolved and is evolving through this process (Section 2). Partners, policymakers, and economic scholars who work in these areas are strongly encouraged to share their perspectives and findings through respective team leaders, whose e-mail addresses are provided. In parallel, the staff are developing a web page to serve as an informational centerpoint for this broad effort. The site will be updated periodically in order to report on progress and to share preliminary results of the ongoing research.

Section 3, “Synopsis of Recent IMF Research on Low-Income Countries,” summarizes seven streams of analytical work. Section 4 contains a bibliography—nearly 1,000 papers—primarily by IMF researchers.

For Further Information

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