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Mr. Kevin J Carey, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo

Abstract

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has recently shown signs of improvement, but is still short of levels needed to attain the Millennium Development Goals. Economists have placed increasing emphasis on understanding the policies that promote sustained jumps in medium-term growth, and the paper applies this approach to African countries. The evidence presented finds an important growth-supporting role for particular kinds of institutions and policies, but also highlights aspects of growth that are still not well understood. The paper includes policy guidance for ensuring that the poor benefit from growth.

Mr. Sumio Ishikawa, Ms. Sibel Beadle, Mr. Damien Eastman, Ms. Srobona Mitra, Mr. Alejandro Lopez Mejia, Ms. Wafa F Abdelati, Mr. Koji Nakamura, Mr. Il Houng Lee, Ms. Sònia Muñoz, Mr. Robert P. Hagemann, Mr. David T. Coe, and Ms. Nadia Rendak

Abstract

Cambodia's reconstruction and reform efforts have spanned almost 25 years following the Khmer Rouge period, which ended in 1979. Economic reforms began in earnest in the early 1990s, but reform efforts were beset by ongoing internal tensions and civil unrest. Although external factors, including sizable aid inflows and a trade agreement with the United States, helped boost growth in the past decade, the country remains one of the poorest in the region. The current coalition government has announced a strategy aimed at revitalizing economic reforms, and in 2004 Cambodia formally joined the World Trade Organization. But elimination of the garment quota system under the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing is exposing an underlying deterioration in competitiveness, which, coupled with slow growth in the agriculture sector and other structural obstacles to private sector growth, has resulted in a medium-term outlook that remains uncertain.

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.

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

Abstract

Since 2000, Armenia's economic performance has been remarkable. Real economic growth has averaged 11 percent a year, annual inflation has averaged 3 percent, and poverty and inequality have fallen. The country has outperformed other low-income countries including other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States. This is particularly impressive given the geographical location of Armenia, the closure of two critical borders, and occasional political turmoil. The key factors behind Armenia's economic performance are prudent monetary and fiscal policies, liberal trade and foreign exchange regimes, rapid and relaively well-sequenced structural reforms, and support from the Armenian diaspora. In addition, the implementation of a poverty reduction strategy since 2002 has complemented the effect of economic growth on reducing poverty. This book assesses the country's economic transformation during the last 10 years and discusses the challenges to sustaining these successes.

Mr. Jeffrey R. Franks, Miss Randa Sab, Ms. Valerie A Mercer-Blackman, and Roberto Benelli

Abstract

Following some historical background, this paper describes how corruption is manifested in Paraguay. The paper distinguishes between factors that explain the growth performance of Paraguay since 1960 (where corruption does not directly enter as a significant factor) and factors that explain the relative level of income of Paraguay in the past 40 or 50 years compared with other countries. It then illustrates how Paraguay's weak institutions may have led to long-term growth below its potential. Finally, the authors briefly consider how Paraguay could improve its institutions. To the extent that prudent policies and the willingness to consider the adoption of international best practices will exert pressure for change in Paraguay, a gradual improvement of institutional quality will ensue, which is necessary for sustained long-run growth.

Mr. Michael Keen

Abstract

This paper, based on the considerable practical experience of the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, sets out a successful strategy for modernizing customs administration. The essence is to establish transparent and simple rules and procedures, and to foster voluntary compliance by building a system of self-assessment supported by well-designed audit policies. Having set out this strategy--and its benefits--the paper discusses in depth what is required in terms of trade policy, valuation procedures, dealing with duty reliefs and exemptions, controlling transit movements, organizational reform, use of new technologies, private sector involvement, and designing incentive systems for an effective customs administration.