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Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Mr. Kevin J Carey, and Mr. Ulrich Jacoby

Abstract

What is the impact on trade in sub-Saharan Africa of the recent rapid growth in China and other Asian countries, and the associated commodity price boom? This paper looks at how trading patterns (both destinations and composition) are changing in sub-Saharan Africa. Has the region managed to diversify the products it sells from commodities to manufactured goods? Has it expanded the range of countries to which it exports? And what about the import side? The time is ripe for sub-Saharan African countries to climb up the value chain of their commodity-based exports and/or achieve an export surge based on labor-intensive manufacturing.

International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Iran has received much attention from a geopolitical and regional standpoint, but its economic challenges have not attracted a similar degree of interest. With a population of 69 million, considerable hydrocarbon resources, a dynamic and entrepreneurial middle class, and a relatively well-educated labor force, Iran's economic potential is considerable. This volume takes stock of critical developments in the Iranian economy in recent years. The study reviews the key issues and policy responses, highlights the nature of the challenges ahead, and draws implications for the next phase of reforms. The authors conclude that major challenges remain, although significant advances have been made in recent years in opening up the economy to international trade and foreign direct investment, encouraging the private sector, removing exchange restrictions, reforming the tax system, and enhancing macroeconomic management.

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

Abstract

Mauritius has achieved remarkable success since its independence in 1968. It has one of the highest per capita GDPs in Africa, the economy has diversified from complete dependence on the sugar crop, into textiles, then tourism, and recently information and communication services. This paper examines the factors that have contributed to this impressive growth, including macroeconomic stability, a solid institutional framework, political stability, an efficient administration, a favorable regulatory framework, and a well-developed financial system, and outlines the challenges that remain to ensure continued sustainable growth in Mauritius.

Mr. Yuan Xiao, Mr. Robert M Burgess, and Ms. Stefania Fabrizio

Abstract

Large current account deficits in Estonia and Latvia, and the continued real appreciation of the exchange rate in Lithuania, have prompted concerns about the competitiveness of the Baltic economies, and called into question the sustainability of their current fixed exchange rate arrangements. Recent external performance, however, appears to be explained more by temporary or cyclical developments than by a deterioration in the underlying competitive position of the Baltic economies. This book assesses the competitive position of the Baltic countries and focuses, in particular, on the viability of the countries’ strategy of maintaining their fixed exchange rates on joining the European Union, participating in its exchange rate mechanism, and then adopting the euro at the earliest possible date.

Mr. Niko A Hobdari, Ms. Chonira E Aturupane, Mr. Eric Le Borgne, Mr. Koba Gvenetadze, Mr. John Wakeman-Linn, and Mr. Stephan Danninger

Abstract

Oil and gas production in Azerbaijan were projected to increase sharply in 2005 and 2006, respectively, reaching peaks of 1.3 million barrels a day in 2009 and 20 billion cubic meters a year in 2010. Although expected revenues over the next 20 years will be substantial, they are projected to return to 2004 levels by 2024. Managing this temporary windfall in a way that allows for economic diversification and increased living standards is the subject of this book, which provides extensive guidance based largely on lessons drawn from the experiences--mostly negative--of other countries.

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

Abstract

How can a country turn oil revenues into a blessing rather than a curse? With growing international interest in new offshore oil deposits in sub-Saharan Africa, there is also greater scrutiny of the reasons why many oil-producing countries in the region have experienced disappointing economic performance over the past 20 to 30 years. This paper discusses the latest thinking on best-practice institutions and policies, compares this thinking with current practice in African oil-exporting countries, and presents a plan for the future, taking into account African policymakers’concerns.