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Finance & Development
A quarterly magazine of the IMF
December 2001, Volume 38, Number 4

From the Editor

The terrorist attacks on the United States of September 11 resulted in the tragic loss of thousands of innocent lives. They also brought out the best in many people, whose heroic and selfless acts were heartening to us all. It is now time, however, to look forward to a period of recovery. Despite the emotional toll exacted by the attacks, we must not neglect the pressing social and economic challenges that predated September 11. These not only still exist but may have become even more difficult to overcome.

The world's poorest countries—most of which are in Africa—are likely to be hard hit by the economic fallout from the events of September 11. Eleven articles in this issue focus on globalization and its potential benefits and risks for Africa. For the most part, Africa has yet to enjoy the benefits of globalization, which could boost economic growth in the region through the expansion of markets for African exports, the stimulation of domestic investment, and an increase in foreign capital flows. Robust economic growth would boost incomes, alleviate poverty, and enable Africa to provide its citizens with more and better job opportunities as well as improved health care and education.

The articles on our cover theme discuss the steps Africa and the international community need to take to minimize the risks of globalization while putting Africa in a better position to gain from increasing integration. The authors include African officials and scholars as well as economists from the IMF who met in Tunis earlier this year to discuss these issues.

In our Point of View article, Robert Hunter Wade questions the widespread assumption that world income distribution has become more equal with globalization. Based on his review of eight alternative measures, he argues that, on balance, inequality has been increasing. Other articles discuss such topics as the conditions set by the IMF on its lending and the relationship between its role and human rights, international trade and poverty alleviation, the behavior of emerging market mutual funds, and whether national oil funds constitute an appropriate way to manage flows of oil revenues or just create a new problem. Our concluding article draws on a new biography of John Maynard Keynes to take a fresh look at the great economist's enduring influence.

* * * * *

With this issue I am stepping down as Editor-in-Chief of Finance & Development. I have greatly enjoyed my editorship and the challenge of bringing you thought-provoking and interesting articles in each issue that cover a broad range of monetary and financial subjects, as well as topics in the field of development. It has been a stimulating and worthwhile assignment. Throughout my tenure, I have particularly appreciated the comments and support I have consistently received from you, the readers of the magazine.

I am pleased to say that my successor will be Laura Wallace, who worked as a journalist before joining the IMF in 1989 and who served from 1989 to 1995 as an editor on the staff of Finance & Development. Most recently, she has been speechwriter for Eduardo Aninat, a Deputy Managing Director of the IMF.

Ian S. McDonald