Topical Trust Funds—The New Assistance Vanguard


By Alfred Kammer

The IMF has begun implementing a new approach to financing its technical assistance by creating a series of topical trust funds that bring together interested donors.

The idea behind the new topical trust funds is to support broader initiatives on policy topics and engage donors on a broader, longer-term, and more strategic basis.

Let me illustrate this with two examples of trust fund programs that we are currently developing. A program on Tax Policy and Administration aims at helping countries mobilize more domestic resources in support of investment toward reaching the Millennium Development Goals, while also reducing their aid dependency.

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Help in the Neighborhood: ‘Just a Phone Call Away’


By Alfred Kammer

Regional technical assistance centers have gradually evolved to play a major role in IMF technical assistance. These centers, which are largely donor financed, have become important vehicles for helping countries carry out economic reforms.

Their objective is to assist countries in designing and implementing their poverty reduction and broader developmental strategies and help countries integrate into the world economy.

For example, they help strengthen public financial management, and so improve governance and transparency, facilitating donors’ use of budget support instruments. They help improve tax and customs administration, providing an environment that is more conducive to investment and growth, increasing the resource envelope for poverty reducing spending and reducing the opportunities for corruption. At the same time, such reforms facilitate trade and enable countries to take better advantage of the forces of globalization.

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More Asian Geese Ready to Fly


(Version in 日本語)

Like geese flying in formation, the successive waves of Asian countries achieving economic takeoff and emerging or developed market status, has been likened to those migratory birds in flight.  If this model is accurate, more Asian geese are set to join the flock of economically successful nations.

The “Flying Geese Paradigm” or ganko keitai was first conceived of  by Japanese economist, Kaname Akamatsu in the 1930s as a way of explaining East Asian industrial development.  According to Akamatsu, the lead goose in the formation, was Japan.  The second tier consisted of newly industrialized economies—South Korea, Taiwan Province of China, Singapore, and Hong Kong SAR.  Following hot on their tails were the ASEAN countries, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand.  More recent additions to the flock are China and India

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IMF Opens Up: Partnerships with Donors a Win-Win


I would like to talk about one of the IMF’s core mandates that is highly successful but rarely grabs headlines: technical assistance for capacity building.

Although less glamorous than the surveillance and lending operations of the Fund, for many countries these advisory services in areas such as macroeconomic policy, public financial management, tax policy and revenue administration, financial sector supervision, or statistics are indispensable. They help IMF member countries identify weaknesses in policies and institutional frameworks, develop concrete reform proposals and strategies, and put together the nuts and bolts for translating the IMF’s policy advice into concrete implementation of reforms.

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Rethinking the IMF’s Mandate: Asking for Your Views


By Reza Moghadam

The IMF is rethinking its role in the post-crisis world to ensure it is working most effectively for its 186 member countries, and helping them avoid another global recession, with all that implies for trade, jobs, and living standards.

At the IMF-World Bank meetings in Istanbul in October 2009, the IMF was called on by its policy steering committee to rethink its mandate. The IMFC wanted to ensure that the IMF is able to cover―and I quote here from the communiqué that was issued in October 2009―“the full range of macro and financial sector policies that bear on macroeconomic global stability.”

The conclusions of this work will be discussed at our upcoming Annual Meetings in Washington D.C. The issues are rather complex, as you can imagine. We will be issuing a series of papers for discussion by the IMF’s Executive Board in the coming months. Our first discussion paper was published on February 26.

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This Time It’s Different


By Dominique Strauss-Kahn,

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

My final destination in this week’s visit to Africa was Zambia, where I sought the views not just of the government but also of the people—in a town hall with civil society, students, and the media. Zambia has one of the highest economic growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa: 6.3 percent in 2009 and the outlook for 2010 appears positive.
While recognizing that Zambia, just like Kenya and South Africa, has its own unique characteristics, I have pulled together some common threads from what I have been hearing in Africa over the past several days.

Something New Out of Africa: A Global Player


By Dominique Strauss-Kahn,

Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

The sense of African energy and dynamism that I described during my visit to Kenya is reinforced strongly here in South Africa. And it’s not just World Cup fever—though there are plenty of signs of that too.

By some estimates, close to 10 million people are expected to visit South Africa this summer for the football (soccer) extravaganza—a further boost to its economy and its image in the world. South Africa is a global player.

This country has long been seen as the growth hub in the south and eastern part of the continent. But this past year, as a member of the G-20 group of nations, South Africa has come to be seen as much more–an emerging market, yes. And now also an influence on how global decisions are shaped. This is a new role for Africa in the world—and a new way for Africa to be seen by the world.

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