Posted on October 28, 2014 by iMFdirect
By Antoinette M. Sayeh
Tremendous efforts are under way to upgrade sub-Saharan Africa’s infrastructure. But the needs on the ground are still immense as evidenced by the frequent electricity blackouts, poor roads, and insufficient access to clean water in many countries.
Infrastructure is one of the key challenges facing policymakers in the region—I experienced it first hand when I was finance minister of Liberia before coming to the IMF. The benefits are fairly clear: with improved infrastructure, new growth opportunities in the manufacturing and services sector can be generated, barriers to intraregional trade can be reduced, and economies will be better positioned to transition from low to higher productivity activities. Without improved infrastructure, I fear the increase in productivity and greater economic diversification necessary to sustain Africa’s current growth momentum will not materialize.
In this spirit, in the latest Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa economists from the IMF’s African Department looked at progress so far in addressing the infrastructure deficit and discussed policies needed going forward.
Filed under: Economic outlook, Economic research, Financial Crisis, Globalization, growth, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Reform | Tagged: Africa, China, domestic tax revenues, infrastructure, investors, manufacturing, public debt, Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, telecommunication | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 9, 2012 by iMFdirect
By Ian Parry
(Versions in عربي, 中文, Español and Français)
As we slide into another year of tough economic times, it’s easy to understand why policymakers are preoccupied with the next few weeks. But they also need to be thinking about the longer term issue of leaving the planet in reasonable shape for future generations.
Without serious efforts to reduce greenhouse gases, scientists predict that by the end of this century global temperatures could be 2.5 to 6.0OC higher than a couple of hundred years ago. That could mean more heatwaves, more droughts, higher sea levels, more violent storms—and so on. When you start to think about the potential impact of, say, droughts on the livelihood of farmers, especially in poorer countries… well, you get the point.
While some progress was made in the latest round of United Nations’ climate change negotiations in Durban, South Africa, we saw two major omissions. There was little progress on either carbon pricing or, related, financing for action against climate change. And there was not enough recognition of what economics has to offer to help tackle the problems.
Filed under: Advanced Economies, Emerging Markets, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries, Multilateral Cooperation | Tagged: border tax adjustments, carbon pricing, Climate change, CO2 emissions, domestic tax revenues, Durban, energy taxes, financing for climate change, greenhouse gases, IMF, iMFdirect, International Monetary Fund | 4 Comments »
Posted on April 22, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Carlo Cottarelli
You hear a lot these days—not least from me—about the fiscal problems of advanced economies. But let’s not forget the fiscal problems that low-income countries face, though they are of a different kind.
For all too many low-income countries, government tax revenues are far from enough to meet the needs of their people. Some have made good progress, and this helped them weather the crisis better than many advanced economies—but there is an underlying, quiet crisis of inadequately resourced governments. Continue reading
Filed under: Asia, Fiscal policy, International Monetary Fund, Latin America, Low-income countries | Tagged: corruption, domestic tax revenues, efficiency, equity, fairness, governance, Millennium Development Goals, political will, poverty reduction, preferrential tax treatment, tax administration, tax evasion, tax exemptions, tax policy | 3 Comments »
Posted on March 21, 2011 by iMFdirect
By Mark Plant
(Version in Français. Listen to the podcast in English or Français.)
Governments in Africa have a prime objective—to reduce poverty. To improve living standards and create jobs, they need to provide their citizens with better health care, better education, more infrastructure. They need to build hospitals, schools, and to pay doctors, nurses, teachers.
All this costs money. How to pay for this—in a way that is both fair and efficient—is a question that all governments face.
There are limits to how much a government can receive as grants from donors or borrow from donors or the private sector. So raising tax revenues is a necessary element for governments to spend on providing more of these essential services and, in turn, reduce poverty. Continue reading
Filed under: Africa, IMF, International Monetary Fund, Low-income countries | Tagged: AFRITACS, domestic tax revenues, education, equity, health spending, infrastructure, natural resources, poverty reduction, regional technical assistance center, Sub-Saharan Africa, tax administration, tax exemptions, tax policy, taxpayer protection, technical assistance, topical trust funds, trade liberalization, Value-Added Tax, VAT | 6 Comments »