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International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on Haiti near and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before coronavirus disease 2019 became a global pandemic and resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity and financial markets. The outbreak has greatly amplified uncertainty and downside risks around the outlook. The IMF staff is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work on assessing its impact and the related policy response in Haiti and globally. Income inequality can hamper economic growth and development. Currently, the financial needs of the rural poor are sustained by microfinance institutions, financial cooperatives, humanitarian programs, and remittance providers. Greater financial inclusion could also be reached via solutions outside of traditional banking practices, including through fintech initiatives. In addition to being a moral imperative, addressing gender inequality is necessary for generating broad-based and inclusive growth. Formal employment opportunities for women need to be expanded. A good start would be to implement the 30 percent quota reserved for women in public-sector appointments, which was introduced in 2012 but never enforced.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that driven by popular frustration with high levels of corruption and inequality, Haiti has been experiencing a protracted political crisis and prolonged civil unrest. The baseline scenario assumes some stabilization in the political situation by early 2020 but no major political or economic reforms. This would allow growth to recover only gradually and in the absence of sustained implementation of good policies and structural reforms, potential growth would remain low at about 1.4 percent over the medium term. Downside risks, both domestic and external, remain elevated. A prolongation of political instability, extreme natural disaster, drop in remittances, and/or a contraction in exports because of trade tensions would worsen the outlook, particularly given the absence of buffers and fragile social conditions. The challenge is to stabilize the macroeconomic situation in an unstable political context. The IMF Staff encourages the authorities to continue their efforts to contain the fiscal deficit and its monetary financing by the central bank. Improving domestic revenue collection and redirecting current spending would help create space for much needed social and capital expenditures. Together with steps to strengthen the central bank’s autonomy and legal framework, this would help reduce fiscal dominance.
International Monetary Fund
The paper draws on recent country experience to describe the approach to designing and implementing fiscal reforms in fragile states (FS) taken in the IMF’s technical assistance (TA). In doing so, it highlights how the TA that the IMF provides to FS differs from that of non-FS, describes the trends in and modalities of TA delivery, and draws on recent experiences to derive lessons for future work.
Gabriel Di Bella and Mr. Francesco Grigoli
Poor performance of the electricity sector remains a drag to economic efficiency and a bottleneck to economic activity in many low-income countries. This paper proposes a number of models that account for different equilibria (some better, some worse) of the electricity sector. They show how policy choices (affecting insolvency prospects or related to rules for electricity dispatching or tariff setting), stochastic generation costs, and initial conditions, affect investment in generation and electricity supply. They also show how credible (non-credible) promises of stronger enforcement to reduce theft result in larger (smaller) electricity supply, lower (higher) government subsidies, and lower (higher) tariffs and distribution losses, which in turn affect economic activity. To illustrate these findings, the paper reviews the experience of Haiti, a country stuck in a bad equilibrium of insufficient supply, high prices, and electricity theft; and that of Nicaragua, which is gradually transitioning to a better equilibrium of the electricity sector.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines opportunities and challenges for growth in Haiti. Achieving a sustained increase in living standards in Haiti will require deep-seated reforms across a range of areas. Diversifying the export base is needed to cushion the impact of severe shocks that have reduced per capita income and prevented a sustained increase in the capital stock. Integration into global-value chains would also allow Haiti to take advantage of its proximity to the U.S. market and favorable trade preferences to generate employment, spur the creation of human capital, and allow Haiti to begin climbing the value added chain.
Gabriel Di Bella, Mr. Lawrence Norton, Mr. Joseph Ntamatungiro, Ms. Sumiko Ogawa, Issouf Samaké, and Marika Santoro
The oil price decline creates an opportunity to dismantle energy subsidies, which escalated with high oil prices. This paper assesses energy subsidies in Latin America and the Caribbean—about 1.8 percent of GDP in 2011–13 (approximately evenly split between fuel and electricity), and about 3.8 percent of GDP including negative externalities. Countries with poorer institutions subsidize more. Energy-rich countries subsidize fuel more, but low-income countries are more likely to subsidize electricity, as are Central America and the Caribbean. Energy subsidies impose fiscal costs, hurting SOEs, competitiveness, and distribution. The paper overviews country experience with subsidy reform, drawing lessons.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper focuses on Haiti’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and 2014–2016 Three-Year Investment Program. The Haiti Strategic Development Plan presents the new framework for the planning, programming, and management of Haitian development, the vision and the strategic guidelines for the country’s development, and the four major work areas to be implemented to ensure the recovery and development of Haiti. The Three-Year Investment Program, 2014–2016 (PTI 2014–2016) concerns implementation of the Strategic Plan for Development of Haiti and more specifically implementation of the government’s priorities for the period.