Posted on January 8, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
For yet a third year I have kept my tradition of starting the New Year with a visit to Sub-Saharan Africa—a region that truly offers great promise! As the world economy has remained focused on the crisis of the advanced economies, Africa has quietly forged ahead with strong growth led by a vibrant private sector and surging foreign investment. Over the past decade Sub-Saharan Africa has posted growth averaging 5.6 percent a year.
The countries of East Africa have done especially well. So what better place to begin my travels this year than in Kenya, which has emerged as one of the region’s “frontier economies”—countries whose recent performance is propelling them toward middle-income status.
Filed under: Africa, Emerging Markets, Employment, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: Africa, business, development, fiscal policy, growth, iMFdirect, infrastructure, International Monetary Fund, jobs, Kenya, regional integration, Sub-Saharan Africa | 1 Comment »
Posted on January 6, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Min Zhu
(Versions in عربي)
To almost all economists it is clear that the private sector is critically important in creating jobs and achieving strong growth. The public sector is already overburdened in most countries. But what is not clear is how to support the private sector for it to play this important role.
To shed some light on how to facilitate strong job creation and growth by the private sector in the Middle East and North Africa, we held a conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2013, jointly with the Council of Saudi Chambers and the International Finance Corporation.
As the date of the conference approached, registrations kept increasing, and by the time we opened the conference, the registration numbers had skyrocketed to more than 800! I can think of no better sign of the importance of this topic for the people in this region.
Filed under: Economic research, Emerging Markets, Finance, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Middle East, عربي | Tagged: employment, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, job creation, Macroeconomic policies, Middle East and North Africa, private sector, private sector involvement, reforms, Saudi Arabia | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 19, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Jeffrey Franks
(Version in اردو)
Following my most recent visit to Pakistan I noticed there seem to be many different and contradictory views about the government’s reform agenda supported by the IMF program. This piece addresses some of the key concerns on people’s minds.
1. The IMF dictated the content of the program.
The government mostly produced the policies supported in this program, which respond to key challenges facing Pakistan today.
The economic section of the PML-N party manifesto shows that most of the policies agreed with the IMF were actually those proposed by Prime Minister Sharif and his team before the elections, such as: fiscal consolidation, tax reform, measures to tackle the energy crisis, restructuring and privatizations of public sector enterprises, trade policy reforms, and steps to boost the investment climate.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, Finance, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: energy, Pakistan, recession, taxes, United States | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 18, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Era Dabla-Norris and Kalpana Kochar
(Version in Español)
The era of remarkable growth in many emerging market economies fueled by cheap money and high commodity prices may very well be coming to an end.
The slowdown reflects not just inadequate global demand, but also structural factors that are rendering previous growth engines less effective, and the fact that economic “good times” reduced the incentives to implement further reforms to enhance productivity. With the end of the period of favorable global financing and trade conditions, the time is nigh for governments to make strong efforts to increase productivity—the essential foundation of sustainable growth and rising living standards. Continue reading
Filed under: Asia, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Employment, Finance, Financial regulation, Financial sector supervision, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America | Tagged: emerging markets, employment, financial markets, Financial regulation, financial supervision, growth, iMFdirect, infrastructure, International Monetary Fund, Labor, productivity | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 11, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Alejandro Werner
(Versions Español and Português)
Public finances in most Latin American countries strengthened significantly before the global financial crisis. Since 2009, countries have generally increased public deficits, drawing down on their fiscal coffers.
These expansionary policies continue and are yet to be reversed. With further pressures likely to build over the period ahead—as economic growth has slowed, commodity prices have softened, and external funding costs are bound to rise—now is the right time to rethink fiscal policies across the region.
Filed under: Economic research, Emerging Markets, Financial Crisis, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Public debt | Tagged: Brazil, Chile, Colombia, fiscal policy, Fiscal Stimulus, infrastructure, labor market, Mexico, Peru, public deficits, public finances, public spending | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 9, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
Having visited Cambodia and Korea on this whirlwind tour of the region, I touched down in my third and last country—Myanmar.
What a place! It is rare to find such a combination of enchanting beauty, warm hospitality, and an unstoppable drive to succeed. Myanmar is undergoing a great awakening to the world and all that it has to offer. And it is engaging on multiple fronts. For example, it has recently taken over the chairmanship of ASEAN, and when I arrived I found the country in the midst of hosting the South East Asian games.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Investment, Low-income countries | Tagged: Christine Lagarde, education, health, infrastructure, Myanmar, poverty reduction, women | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 6, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
(Versions in 한국의 and 中文)
My arrival in Seoul was somewhat delayed when dense fog caused my plane from Phnom Penh to be temporarily diverted from Seoul to Daegu. Still, better late than never! I was delighted to be back in Seoul, capital of one of the world’s most dynamic and innovative economies. Just remember: in a remarkably short period of time, Korea has risen from close to the bottom to close to the top—becoming the thirteenth most prosperous economy with an income per capita that is higher than the European Union average.
With such a track record, Korea plays an increasingly important role on the global stage. It held the annual presidency of the Group of Twenty advanced and emerging economies at the height of the global financial crisis in 2010. It is host to the Green Climate Fund, whose aim is to help developing countries respond to climate change—surely one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. And it is playing ever increasing leadership roles in other international institutions, including the IMF.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, Employment, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: capacity building, Christine Lagarde, Climate change, Korea, OECD, women | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 4, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
Cambodia is the first leg of my Asia trip. This is a country that has already grown by leaps and bounds, and now stands at the frontier of becoming an emerging market economy in the heart of the most dynamic hub of the global economy.
I could feel this energy and excitement everywhere. Cambodians, especially young Cambodians, have big dreams and substantial societal aspirations. They want dignity and respect, so that they can fulfill their potential, both as individuals and as a nation. They want to embrace the wider world and all that it has to offer. They want good governance and strong institutions, which are essential to underpin economic development, empower people and ensure that prosperity is broadly shared.
I heard these themes consistently—from inspiring women leaders, from dynamic young economists, and from the students at the Royal School of Administration, where I gave a speech on how Cambodia can keep its forward momentum.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, Employment, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Politics | Tagged: cambodia, capacity building, Christine Lagarde, education, macroeconomic stability, women | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 2, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Steven Barnett
(Version in 中文)
It’s the season for shopping. We have Cyber Monday in the United States and Singles Day in China (November 11 or 11/11). So, while we are pondering shopping, try to guess which consumer market is growing the fastest. The answer is…China!
China had the largest consumption increase in the world. This was true in 2011, true in 2012, and likely to be true again this year (see chart). Consumption in China is also generally thought to be weak. Indeed, the government and the IMF are calling for more consumer-based growth. How could consumption, in effect, be both weak and strong at the same time?
Filed under: Asia, Economic Crisis, Economic research, Emerging Markets, Fiscal policy, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund | Tagged: China, consumer spending, consumption | Leave a comment »
Posted on November 29, 2013 by iMFdirect
By Christine Lagarde
In a couple of days, I will embark upon a trip to Asia. Every time I visit Asia, I can feel that dynamism and intensity are in the air. It feels like moving forward in time. Hardly surprising as under current trends, developing Asia alone will account for half of global GDP by 2050. Back to Asia really means back to the future.
This time, I will visit three countries—Cambodia, Korea, and Myanmar. These countries represent three different chapters of the great Asian story, each in their own unique way.
Korea is a country that has propelled itself from very low income levels to one of the world’s richest economies in an astoundingly short period of time. It has a well-deserved reputation for innovation, technological brilliance and hard work. I am convinced it can stay at the leading edge, especially by making labor markets more inclusive—including for women—and making the services sector more dynamic and productive.
Filed under: Asia, Emerging Markets, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: cambodia, Christine Lagarde, education, India, Korea, Myanmar, People's Bank of China, women | 1 Comment »