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Ahmed El-Ashram
The question of how scaling up public investment could affect fiscal and debt sustainability is key for countries needing to fill infrastructure gaps and build resilience. This paper proposes a bottom-up approach to assess large public investments that are potentially self-financing and reflect their impact in macro-fiscal projections that underpin the IMF’s Debt Sustainability Analysis Framework. Using the case of energy sector investments in Caribbean countries, the paper shows how to avoid biases against good projects that pay off over long horizons and ensure that transformative investments are not sacrificed to myopic assessments of debt sustainability risks. The approach is applicable to any macro-critical investment for which user fees can cover financing costs and which has the potential to raise growth without crowding-out.
International Monetary Fund
The review of PRGT-eligibility, conducted biennially, is guided by a transparent, rules-based, and parsimonious framework. The framework determines which IMF members can access concessional resources based on an assessment of their level of income per capita, market access, and serious short-term vulnerabilities. Application of the framework should be consistent with the self-sustainability of the PRGT’s lending capacity over time. This paper concludes that the existing framework remains generally appropriate. The PRGT-eligibility framework is broadly aligned with the World Bank’s International Development Association practices, with minor differences between the lists of eligible countries explained by differences in the mandates of the two institutions and the timing of their respective review cycles. None of the countries that have graduated from the PRGT-eligibility list are at immediate risk of re-entering it. No country is proposed for graduation from or entry onto the PRGT-eligibility list. While thirteen countries meet either the income or market access graduation criterion, all are assessed to be facing serious short-term vulnerabilities and thus none are proposed for graduation. No non-PRGT-eligible country meets the criteria for entry onto the PRGT-eligibility list. The proposal to keep the list of PRGT-eligible countries unchanged is consistent with the self-sustained capacity of the PRGT.
Tamoya A. L. Christie and Dhanaraj Thakur
Of the countries in the Caribbean and Pacific Islands, Timor-Leste has the most well-developed gender budgeting initiative. In the Pacific Islands, a few gender budgeting efforts were initiated but did not continue. In the Caribbean, there have been no well-developed gender budgeting efforts, although governments have undertaken policies to promote gender equality. We provide a number of recommendations to improve the effectiveness of gender budgeting efforts. Governments should link gender budgeting to national development plans, set realistic time expectations for achieving results, engage in capacity building with officials, draw upon strengths outside the government, and strengthen regional coordination.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses recent economic developments, the outlook, and risks for the Czech Republic. The economy has been growing at an exceptionally strong pace. Driven by robust domestic demand, output expanded by 4.2 percent—the highest rate in the central and eastern European region—in 2015. Labor market performance has been strong. Fiscal performance was better than budgeted in 2015. The banking sector is stable, and credit growth continues to strengthen. However, economic activity is expected to slow in 2016. Private consumption will remain robust on the heels of higher disposable income and employment, but the projected slowdown in EU-fund absorption will weigh on growth.
Maximilien Kaffo Melou, Mariusz A. Sumlinski, and Chris Geiregat
We analyse the debt dynamics in countries that benefited from the HIPC/MDRI debt relief initiatives with a view to applying a probabilistic approach to estimating future debt paths for those countries. We extend the probabilistic approach to public debt sustainability analysis (DSA) proposed by Celasun et al. (2006). This required addressing the twin challenges of a the time period that is too short to conduct country-by-country estimations and the presence, suggested by econometric evidence, of a break–point around 2006 in the dynamics of debt accumulation. To overcome the data limitations, we pool the data and estimate a panel VAR, thus taking advantage of the large cross–section. To account for the break–point, while applying a probabilistic approach to forecasting debt paths, we use the post–break–point information so as not to bias the forecasts of debt paths. As an illustration of the approach we apply the methodology to eight countries with different debt profiles.