Middle East and Central Asia > Azerbaijan, Republic of

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International Monetary Fund
This paper presents the Joint Staff Assessment on Azerbaijan Republic’s Poverty Reduction Strategy. The incidence of poverty remains slightly higher among urban than rural households, and is associated with falling employment opportunities and earnings in the formal economy. Although Baku has the largest absolute number of urban poor, poverty incidence is highest in provincial towns. Setting up a system to monitor living standards has been a major achievement, but the monitoring of those standards for refugees and internally displaced persons has serious shortcomings.
International Monetary Fund
Macroeconomic performance continues to be strong, with double-digit real gross domestic product growth and low inflation. All quantitative and structural performance criteria have been met. Significant progress has been made in converting quasi-fiscal subsidies to fiscal subsidies. The government acknowledges the importance of developing a long-term oil revenue management strategy. The government will continue comprehensive structural reforms, including adoption of an automatic price adjustment mechanism for domestically sold oil and gas product prices, and adoption of the banking system and central bank laws.
International Monetary Fund
This paper evaluates Azerbaijan’s 2003 Article IV Consultation, Second Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), and Requests for Waivers of Performance Criteria, Extension of Arrangement and Rephasing of Purchases. Performance relative to the quantitative targets under the program was strong, as all quantitative performance criteria and most indicative targets were met. Implementation of the structural reforms under the program was slower than planned, delaying completion of the second review. The authorities are requesting several waivers related to delays in structural reforms.
International Monetary Fund
This paper presents the Joint Staff Assessment of the State Program on Poverty Reduction and Economic Development 2003–2005 (SPPRED)—the first full Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of Azerbaijan. The SPPRED represents a joint effort between the government and civil society in the country. There remain areas where progress needs to be made during the implementation and subsequent updates of the SPPRED. The poverty analysis has improved compared with the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP).
Ms. Gabriela Inchauste
This paper aims to inform on the status of Poverty and Social Impact Analysis (PSIA) in IMF-supported programs, detailing the results presented in the recent review of PRGF-supported programs. The review showed that more needs to be done, both in undertaking PSIA when necessary, and in reporting the policy tradeoffs in program documents. Policy design should be continuously informed by the results of PSIA.
International Monetary Fund
This paper focuses on the Republic of Armenia’s 2002 Article IV Consultation, First and Second Reviews Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), and a Request for Waiver of Performance Criteria. The PRGF-supported program approved in 2001 focuses on revenue mobilization, the clearance of government arrears, and a decline in the deficit of the energy sector. Performance during the first year of the program was mixed. Tax collection was sluggish, and delays with structural reforms in the energy, water, and irrigation sectors led to the nonobservance of several quantitative performance criteria under the program.
Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Ms. Gabriela Inchauste, Ms. Nita Thacker, Mr. Thomas William Dorsey, Mr. Shamsuddin Tareq, Mr. Emanuele Baldacci, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Mr. Mark W. Plant

Abstract

In late 1999 the IMF established the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) to integrate the objectives of poverty reduction and growth more fully into its operations for the poorest countries, and to base these operations on national poverty reduction strategies prepared by the country with broad participation of key stakeholders. A review of the program would be conducted two years later. This paper synthesizes two papers prepared by IMF staff: Review of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility: Issues and Options, and Review of the Key Features of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility: Staff Analyses. The paper draws on a broad range of internal and external views gathered between July 2001 and February 2002, including discussions at regional forums, meetings with donor government officials and representatives of civil society organizations, and comments of key officials in member countries with PRGF arrangements.

International Monetary Fund
The centerpiece of the program is fiscal consolidation, to put Georgia on a path to fiscal sustainability, establish the ability of the government to meet its commitments, and underpin efforts to resolve the large external debt burden. Expenditure restraint should be complemented by reforms to increase fiscal transparency and strengthen expenditure monitoring and control. Maintaining low inflation and a stable exchange rate is required. Combating corruption and improving governance will be the key to attracting the investment needed to ensure strong, sustainable growth and poverty reduction.