International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Swift implementation of containment measures, limited spillovers from tourism, and COVID-related fiscal spending financed by buoyant fishing revenues and donor grants have allowed Tuvalu—a fragile Pacific micro-state—avoid a recession in 2020. The economy is expected to expand by 2.5 percent in 2021, supported by fiscal expenditures and resumption of infrastructure projects. But significant challenges remain: Tuvalu is vulnerable to the effects of climate change, its economy is dominated by the public sector, and its revenue base is narrow. Uncertainty around donor commitments complicates fiscal planning.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
Tuvalu is one of the smallest and most isolated countries in the world. With a population of some 11,000 people living on 26 square kilometers, Tuvalu is more than 3,000 kilometers away from its nearest major external market (New Zealand). The country faces tremendous challenges stemming from its remoteness, lack of scale economies, weak institutional capacity, and, above all, climate change and rising sea levels, which threaten the country’s very existence. (Appendix III)
Ms. Shari Boyce, Mr. Sergei Dodzin, Mr. Xuefei Bai, Ezequiel Cabezon, Mr. Fazurin Jamaludin, Mr. Yiqun Wu, and Ms. Rosanne Heller
The work on the small states is an important component of the IMF’s global policy agenda. Among the 36 member countries covered by the IMF Asia and Pacific Department (APD), 13 countries are developing small states—most of which are Pacific islands. As part of APD’s ongoing effort to increase its engagement with regional small states and their development partners and enhance information sharing within the IMF, this issue marks the launch of the APD Small States Monitor, a quarterly bulletin featuring the latest economic developments, country notes from the most recent Article IV staff reports, special topics, past and upcoming events, and forthcoming IMF research on small states. In future issues, we will also host contributions from the authorities of small states and their development partners on key policy topics. Our goal is to exchange knowledge and deepen our understanding of the policy challenges these economies face to better tailor our policy advice.
Ms. Patrizia Tumbarello, Ezequiel Cabezon, and Mr. Yiqun Wu
The small states of the Asia and Pacific region face unique challenges in raising their growth potential and living standards relative to other small states due to their small populations, geographical isolation and dispersion, narrow export and production bases, exposure to shocks, and heavy reliance on aid. Higher fixed government costs, low access to credit by the private sector, and capacity constraints are also key challenges. The econometric analysis confirms that the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have underperformed relative to their peers over the last 20 years. Although these countries often face more limited policy tools, policies do matter and can further help build resilience and raise potential growth, as evidenced in the recent business cycle. The Asia and Pacific small states should continue rebuilding buffers and improve the composition of public spending in order to foster inclusive growth. Regional solutions should also continue to be pursued.
Based on the Executive Board’s guidance during the first stage of the Review of Low Income Countries (LIC) Facilities, this paper suggests a number of refinements to the facilities and instruments that are consistent with the self-sustainability of the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT). The proposals seek to improve the tailoring and flexibility of Fund support. Taken together with those advanced in the parallel paper on PRGT eligibility, they are projected to keep the average annual demand for PRGT resources within a range consistent with the Board’s approved strategy to make the PRGT self-sustaining over the period 2013–35. The proposals are as follows.
The small states of the Asia and Pacific region face unique challenges in raising their growth potential and living standards. These countries are particularly vulnerable because of their small populations, geographical isolation and dispersion, narrow export and production bases, lack of economies of scale, limited access to international capital markets, exposure to shocks (including climate change), and heavy reliance on aid. In providing public services, they face higher fixed government costs relative to other states because public services must be provided regardless of their small population size. Low access to credit by the private sector is an impediment to inclusive growth. Capacity constraints are another key challenge. The small states also face more limited policy tools. Five out of 13 countries do not have a central bank and the scope for diversifying their economies is narrow. Given their large development needs, fiscal policies have been, at times, pro-cyclical. Within the Asia-Pacific small states group, the micro states are subject to more vulnerability and macroeconomic volatility than the rest of the Asia-Pacific small states.
This paper discusses Tuvalu’s economic condition, internal happenings, external linkages, and climate. The country has reported slow economic growth after the global crisis. The export and economic expansions have been minimal with many of its goods imported. The main source of income for the country continue to be remittances from its citizens working abroad and donor assistance. The government has laid out a rigid agenda for improving fiscal strength, literacy rate, power, health, and reducing nonpriority expenditure. The authorities believe that these challenges have given a fighting spirit to the country.
This paper seeks to document key characteristics of small island states in the Pacific. It restricts itself to a limited number of indicators which are macro-orientated - population, fertility of land, ability to tap into economies of scale, income, and geographic isolation. It leaves aside equally important but more micro-orientated variables and development indicators. We show that small island states in the Pacific are different from countries in other regional groupings in that they are extremely isolated and have limited scope to tap economies of scale due to small populations. They often have little arable land. There is empirical evidence to suggest that these factors are related to income growth.
Recent economic developments of Tuvalu were discussed. Major construction projects to build a wharf and a power station have been completed, and seafarer employment—Tuvalu’s main foreign exchange earning source for the private sector—is weak. The Consolidated Investment Fund (CIF) available for budget financing will be depleted. Freezing wages and reducing travel costs will also be important. Improvements in the banking sector and credit culture will help to support private-sector development. Executive Directors agreed to ensure fiscal sustainability.
In light of the multilateral effort to ensure the adequacy of the financial resources available to the International Monetary Fund (the “Fund”), and with a view to supporting the Fund’s ability to provide timely and effective balance of payments assistance to its members, the Bank of Slovenia agrees to lend to the Fund an SDR-denominated amount up to the equivalent of EUR 280 million, on the terms and conditions set out in this paper.