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IMFSurvey Magazine: Podcasts

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Listen to IMF economists and other experts discuss key economic and financial issues of the day. Click on the play button. Alternatively, download the audio MP3 file—a popular digital music format for sound files. Broadcasters: this facility is also being made available to enable these podcasts to be broadcast on radio outlets free of charge. Also available in iTunes

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IMF World Economic Outlook

April 18, 2017

IMF Economic Counselor, Maurice Obstfeld (photo: IMF)

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook projects global growth at 3.5 percent in 2017 and 3.6 percent in 2018. In this podcast, IMF Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld says global growth is gaining momentum.

Maurice Obstfeld, IMF Economic Counselor

Bank Capital: How Much is Enough?

April 14, 2017

Large international banks are now required to hold 15.5 percent of capital under the Basel III. (photo: Vennem/Newscom)

The 2008 global financial crisis exposed the vulnerability of banks that do not hold enough capital. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has since revised capital requirements for banks. In this podcast, we ask IMF economist Lev Ratnovski, how much capital banks need to hold to avert another crisis.

Lev Ratnovski, Senior Economist in the IMF’s Research Department.

Muna AbuSulayman: Gender Equity in Saudi Arabia

April 04, 2017

World Economic Forum ranked Muna AbuSulayman one of the most influential Muslim women for her work in media, gender, and education (photo: WEF/ Norbert Schiller).

Muna AbuSulayman, is founder and co-host of the most popular social issues program on Arab television. Kalam Nawaem tackles controversial topics and has been pushing social boundaries in the region for 15 years. In this podcast, AbuSulayman says Arab women should be free to achieve their goals without cultural or economic barriers.

Muna AbuSulayman, Co-founder of, a news hub for Arab youth and women.

John Evans: Navigating Today’s Labor Market

March 24, 2017

John Evans, head of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (photo: MAYA VIDON/EPA/Newscom)

Labor unions around the world are having to adapt to a fast changing labor market. John Evans heads the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD, and represents some 65 million organized workers worldwide. In this podcast, Evans says workers are caught in the middle of rapid technological change and slow global growth.
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John Evans, General Secretary of the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD

Jamie Drummond: Invest in Africa or Else

March 15, 2017

ONE co-founder Jamie Drummond, says Africa’s population boom presents an opportunity for the region and the world. (photo: Mark Doyle / Splash News/Newscom)

As the Group of Twenty finance ministers and central bank governors meet in Germany this week, policymakers are looking at ways to increase investment in Africa. ONE Campaign’s Jamie Drummond says investing into the education, employment and empowerment of this generation of Africans will help create jobs and curb migration into Europe.
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Jamie Drummond, Co-Founder and Executive Director of The ONE Campaign

Hilma Mote: Africa Must Make Women a Priority

March 08, 2017

Hilma Mote, African Regional Organization of the International Trade Union Confederation (photo: Boris Buchholz / IPPNW).

Global trade union leaders gathered at the IMF in February to discuss how workers are being impacted by the changing global economy. In this podcast, Hilma Mote, of the African Region’s International Trade Union Confederation talks about the challenges African youth, especially women are facing with the continent’s rapidly growing labor force.

Hilma Mote, Executive Director of the Africa Labor research and education Institute, ITUC-Africa.

Eric Hanushek: More One Knows, Faster One Grows

March 03, 2017

Eric Hanushek, economist at Stanford University, says more skills lead to stronger growth. (Juan Lopez/La Nacion de Argentina/Newscom).

There is a strong connection between human capital and economic growth, and in this podcast, Eric Hanushek says societies that invest a lot in the cognitive skills of their people grow significantly faster. Hanushek studies the relationship between education policy and economic outcomes at Stanford University.

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Eric Hanushek, Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.

Alec Ross on The Industries of the Future

February 24, 2017

Author Alec Ross says data is the raw material of the information age (photo: picture alliance / Tobias Hase/Newscom).

In this podcast we speak with author Alec Ross about his new book The Industries of the Future. Ross says 90 percent of the world’s data has been produced in the last two years, so those businesses that own or harvest a meaning from all this data will be leading the pack. Ross has served as Senior Advisor for Innovation to the US Secretary of State.

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Alec Ross, Distinguished Senior Fellow at Johns Hopkins University.

Sharan Burrow, on Regaining Trust

February 17, 2017

Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation speaking at IMF, Washington, DC (IMF photo)

Every two years, the IMF and World-Bank invites global labor union leaders to discuss the global economy and the implications for the labor force. In this podcast, Sharan Burrow, head of the world’s largest trade union federation, says collective action is needed to help better distribute the benefits of growth, if institutions are to regain trust from working people.

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Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation

Barry Eichengreen: Asia’s Ascent and the Global Monetary System

February 08, 2017

Barry Eichengreen, speaking about Asia in the global economy at 2016 IMF World-Bank Annual Meetings (IMF photo).

With Asia’s recent growth comes a growing responsibility within the global economy. In this podcast, Barry Eichengreen, Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley, breaks down the weight of that responsibility and how Asia can rise to fulfill it.

Barry Eichengreen, George C. Pardee and Helen N. Pardee Professor of Economics and Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Mining for Revenues: Alexandra Readhead on Transfer Pricing

January 31, 2017

Open pit gold mine, Tanzania. New report says mineral-rich African countries losing millions in potential tax revenue from mining industry (photo: Karl Schoemaker-Work At Play).

While many African countries have enjoyed significant revenues from the mining industry in recent years, a new study published by the Natural Resource Governance Institute suggests tax revenues from mining could be much higher if transfer pricing rules were enforced. In this podcast, we speak with the report’s author Alexandra Readhead.

Alexandra Readhead, independent consultant and author of Preventing Tax Base Erosion in Africa

The Cost of Corruption for the Young

January 18, 2017

Sergejus Muravjovas speaking about impact of corruption on youth at 2016 IMF World-Bank Annual meetings (IMF photo).

Corruption, in its many forms, affects people from every walk of life, in every country. While it does not discriminate based on age, young people are affected by corruption in ways that can follow them throughout their careers. In this podcast, anti-corruption leader Sergejus Muravjovas, talks about the ways in which youth are fighting back.

Sergejus Muravjovas, Executive Director at Transparency International Lithuania and founder of

Thomas Friedman on Warp Speed Digital Globalization

January 11, 2017

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman presenting new book to economists and development professionals at IMF (IMF photo).

New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas Friedman, says our lives are being transformed in so many realms at once- it’s dizzying. In this podcast, Friedman talks about his new book, Thank You for Being Late, An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations.

Thomas Friedman, New York Times columnist and best-selling author.

Julie Delahanty on Gender-Conscious Budgets

January 05, 2017

Julie Delahanty, Oxfam Canada (photo: Women’s Executive Network).

Julie Delahanty has done extensive work on the disenfranchisement of women due to the lack of equal opportunity. Delahanty is the Executive Director of Oxfam Canada, and joined a panel discussion during the IMF conference on Reducing the Gender Gap. In this podcast, Delahanty says vulnerable women are the most negatively affected by rising inequality.

Julie Delahanty, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada

Douglas Irwin on Trade: Reality vs Perception

December 19, 2016

Douglas Irwin, John Sloan Dickey Third Century Professor in Social Sciences, Department of Economics at Dartmouth College (El Pais Photos/Newscom).

Who benefits from free trade and who doesn’t? The realities don’t always match people’s perceptions. In this podcast, economist and free trade expert Douglas Irwin addresses some of the controversies. Irwin participated in a seminar entitled Making Trade an Engine of Growth for All at this year’s IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings.

Douglas Irwin, John Sloan Dickey Third Century Professor in Social Sciences in the Department of Economics at Dartmouth College

Ravi Kanbur: Political Dimensions of Data and Statistics

December 09, 2016

Ravi Kanbur delivering keynote speech at Fourth IMF Statistical Forum, November 2016 (IMF photo)

Ravi Kanbur says statistics are fundamentally political in nature and in import. Kanbur is Professor of Economics at Cornell University and gave the keynote speech at the Fourth IMF Statistical forum on Statistics for Inclusive Growth, held in November 2016. In this podcast, Kanbur says data doesn’t always reflect the reality on the ground when it comes to poverty and inequality.

Ravi Kanbur, T. H. Lee Professor of World Affairs and Professor of Economics at Cornell University

Harold James on Globalization: New Concept Old Reality

November 30, 2016

Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, New York, in the early 20th century.

Globalization is a recent term, but the internationalization of markets, people, ideas, and cultures is nothing new. In this podcast, IMF historian Harold James, talks about how the past might help guide us into the future. James is Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University, and author of New Concept Old Reality published in the December 2016 edition of Finance and Development magazine.

Harold James, Professor of History and International Affairs at Princeton University and IMF Historian

Esther Duflo: Poverty Not Only Lack of Money

November 18, 2016

Esther Duflo, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BALTEL/SIPA/Newscom).

Esther Duflo, Professor of Development Economics at MIT, co-founded The Poverty Lab to find innovative approaches to poverty alleviation. In this podcast, Duflo says all economic and social dimensions of poverty must be considered in order to effectively address the problem. Duflo presented the 2016 Richard Goode lecture at the IMF earlier this month.

Esther Duflo, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Poverty Alleviation and Development Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Economics of Natural Disasters in Sub-Saharan Africa

November 16, 2016

Flood victims make their way through flood waters to be evacuated in Tambara, Mozambique. Sub-Saharan Africa is region hardest hit by natural disasters. (Themba Hadebe/epa/Newscom)

The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa dedicates an entire chapter on what a drought, an earthquake or a pandemic can do to a country’s economy. In this podcast, lead authors Marshall Mills and Vimal Thakoor say natural disasters have a much bigger impact in sub-Saharan Africa than any other region.

Marshall Mills, Economist and Mission Chief for Madagascar, IMF African Department.
Vimal Thakoor, Economist, IMF African Department.

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda: Make Economies Work for Women

November 07, 2016

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda at IMF World-Bank Annual Meetings. Gumbonzvanda says better policies would allow more women to work (IMF photo).

While the benefits of expanding women’s participation in the economy are clear, women around the globe continue to face barriers. In this podcast, Action Aid’s Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda says women bear a disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work, and ill-thought-out policies often add to that burden. Gumbonzvanda joined a panel on Making Macroeconomics Work for Women at the IMF World-Bank Annual Meetings.

Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, International Board Chair for Action Aid

One-on-One with Christine Lagarde, Featuring Michael Lewis

November 02, 2016

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, and author Michael Lewis during 2016 IMF-World-Bank Annual Meetings (IMF photo).

In this podcast, IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, and best-selling author Michael Lewis (The Big Short), reflect on lessons learned from the financial crisis and other issues facing the world economy. The discussion took place before a live audience during the IMF World-Bank Annual meetings last month.

Christine Lagarde: IMF Managing Director.
Michael Lewis: Author, columnist and financial journalist.

Ray Kurzweil: Intelligent Machines Are Your Friend

October 27, 2016

Caption: Ray Kurzweil, Inventor, futurist and author. Kurzweil says artificial intelligence is creating more creative employment opportunities (Frederic Neema/Polaris/Newscom).

In this podcast, inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil talks about how artificial intelligence is helping overcome human limitations and creating better-paying jobs. Kurzweil participated in a panel discussion entitled Technology, Innovation, and Inclusive Growth, during the 2016 IMF World-Bank Annual Meetings.

Ray Kurzweil, Inventor, futurist, and author.

Abebe Aemro Selassie: Sub-Saharan Africa Growth Lowest in 20 Years

October 25, 2016

Abebe Aemro Selassie, IMF African Department Director says sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing multispeed growth (IMF photo).

The IMF's latest regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows growth at its lowest level in more than 20 years. But in this podcast, the African Department’s new Director, Abebe Aemro Selassie, says it’s a mixed story of struggling oil-exporters and strong performers.

Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the IMF’s African Department

Ghana: IMF Approves Third $116.2m Disbursement

October 04, 2016

Drying cocoa beans in Enchi, Ghana. Despite slump in commodity prices Ghana’s 2015 current account deficit was lower than expected at 7.5% of GDP (photo: Thierry Gouegnon/Reuters/Newscom)

Ghana’s economy—once a model for growth in West Africa, took a turn for the worse in 2012. It’s been getting help from the IMF under a 3-year program known as the Extended Credit Facility, and the IMF board has just approved another US$116m. Under the arrangement, Ghana could receive more than US$900m if all targets are met. In this podcast, Joël Toujas-Bernaté, IMF mission chief for Ghana, says the country is making good progress.

Joël Toujas-Bernaté, IMF Mission Chief for Ghana

IMF World Economic Outlook

October 04, 2016

IMF Chief Economic Counselor, Maurice Obstfeld (photo: IMF)

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook projects global growth at 3.1 percent in 2016 and 3.4 percent in 2017. In this podcast, IMF Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld says growth has been too slow for too long.

Maurice Obstfeld, IMF Chief Economic Counselor

Ethiopia: Drought, Low Commodities Dampen Growth

October 04, 2016

Tradesman works on metro rail system in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. First of its kind on the continent, the electrified light rail transit system was built by a Chinese railway company.

While Ethiopia has been experiencing strong growth since the early 2000s, the IMF’s latest review of the country’s economy says low commodity prices and a drought have put growth levels well below 10 percent for the first time in a decade. In this podcast, we speak with Julio Escolano, IMF Mission Chief for Ethiopia, who oversaw the writing of the report.

Julio Escolano, IMF Mission Chief for Ethiopia.

Refugee Crisis Global Challenge, Kyung-wha Kang

September 16, 2016

Kyung-Wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator at the UN. Kang says refugee crisis has global implications (Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire).

More than a million migrants and refugees made their way to Europe last year, 350K from Syria alone. A recent IMF study says people fleeing conflict areas in the Middle-East and North Africa has brought about the biggest refugee crisis since World War 2. In this podcast, the UN’s Kyung-Wha Kang says the 1951 UN convention for refugees is no longer enough.

Kyung-Wha Kang, Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator at the United Nations.

Creative Industries a Development Opportunity

September 09, 2016

Apple store in China. Digital music sales generated $15 billion in 2015 (Imaginechina/AP Images).

The United Nations estimates the global creative economy in 2011 generated more than $600 billion. In this podcast we speak with Patrick Kabanda, who says a country’s cultural wealth presents a huge development opportunity. Kabanda is author of Music Going for a Song published in the September 2016 edition of Finance & Development Magazine.

Patrick Kabanda, Consultant for the office of the Senior Vice President and Chief Economist at the World Bank

Robots, Growth, and Inequality

August 31, 2016

Robot at 2016 World Economic Forum, Davos, Switzerland (Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images).

As robotic technology becomes more sophisticated, robots could soon become perfect substitutes for human labor. In this podcast, IMF economist Andy Berg says the robot revolution could lead to greater inequality. Berg is coauthor of Robots, Growth, and Inequality published in the September 2016 edition of Finance & Development Magazine.

Andy Berg, Deputy Director of the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development

Klaus Rudischhauser on Taxes and Development

August 26, 2016

Gold pieces in the Department of Mines, Eritrea. Multinational companies working in developing countries often reap big profits and pay little tax (THOMAS MUKOYA/REUTERS/Newscom).

Taxes are what governments rely on to provide the public goods and services that support economic growth. In this podcast, DG DEVCO’s Klaus Rudischhauser, says some countries with millions of inhabitants have only a few hundred tax payers. Rudischhauser participated in a Spring Meeting’s seminar on Capacity Development entitled Collect More & Spend Better

Klaus Rudischhauser, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO)

Madagascar Gets a Boost

August 19, 2016

Harvesting vanilla, Madagascar. Vanilla production is highly labor-intensive and Madagascar is second largest producer in the world (photo: LYDIE/SIPA/Newscom).

The IMF says Madagascar has built a good track record since it’s reengagement in 2014, showing the country is capable of sustaining recent reforms that have improved its economic outlook. In this podcast, Mission Chief, Marshall Mills talks about a new IMF program for Madagascar that includes US$ 310 million over three years.

Marshall Mills, IMF Mission Chief for Madagascar

Poor Economics with Abhijit Banerjee

August 12, 2016

Living in poverty, Tsunza Village, Kenya. Fuel and water subsidies benefit rich more than poor says Abhijit Banerjee. (photo: Ignacio Hennigs).

Abhijit Banerjee, has worked in dozens of countries trying to better understand the economics of poverty. He argues anti-poverty policies often fail because of inadequate understanding of the decisions poor people make. Banerjee Participated in a seminar on Sustainable Economic Development during the IMF World-Bank Spring meetings. In this podcast, we discuss why so little is known about a billion poor people in the world.

Abhijit Banerjee, Ford Foundation International Professor of Economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of Poor Economics, A radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty

Winnie Byanyima on Women in Global Economy

July 28, 2016

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International (IMF photo)

It’s vital to address the economic challenges of women and girls in order to fix the economic challenges of nations. This was the main theme of a seminar called Getting Down to Business: Women, Work, and the Global Economy, held during the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings. In this podcast, Oxfam International’s Winnie Byanyima talks about the increasing statistical evidence that shows women's contributions to the global economy are invaluable.

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International

Currency and Power with Benjamin Cohen

July 26, 2016

Traders on the floor of New York Stock Exchange. Depth of US financial market makes US dollar attractive to investors around the world (BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS/Newscom).

Monetary rivalry is a fact of life in the world economy, says Benjamin Cohen, professor of International Political Economy at the University of California and author of Currency Power: Understanding Monetary Rivalry. In this podcast, Cohen explains why currencies become internationalized, and examines the relationship between world currencies and State power.

Benjamin Cohen, Professor of International Political Economy at the University of California

South Africa: Urgent Need for Policy Reforms

July 07, 2016

Builders and painters wait for work on a roadside in Cape Town. Unemployment in South Africa is among the highest in the world (photo: Nic Bothma/EPA/ Newscom).

South Africa faces significant challenges and needs decisive action to revive growth, the IMF said in its latest economic review. While the report acknowledges considerable economic and social progress, it shows income inequality and unemployment are unacceptably high. In this podcast, we speak with Laura Papi, IMF Mission Chief for South Africa.

Laura Papi, IMF Mission Chief for South Africa

When Global Banks Become Less Global

June 30, 2016

Global banks are doing less business in smaller countries making remittances more difficult (photo: Kacper Pempel/ Reuters/REUTERS/Newscom).

Many of the world’s bigger banks are reevaluating their relationships with banks in smaller, sometimes riskier countries, making it harder for businesses and people to move money across borders. The process is commonly known as De-Risking. IMF Staff have recently published a research paper entitled The Withdrawal of Correspondent Banking Relationships. In this podcast, we speak with coauthor Yan Liu.

Yan Liu, Assistant General Counsel in the IMF’s legal Department.

Ian Bremmer, on Geopolitics of Refugee Crisis

June 17, 2016

Ian Bremmer, President of Eurasia Group (IMF photo)

Europe is struggling to cope with millions of asylum seekers from conflict zones in the Middle East. In this podcast, Ian Bremmer, president of the global political risk research firm Eurasia Group, says the biggest challenges behind the refugee crisis are more political than economic. Bremmer participated in a seminar entitled Conflicts and the Refugee Crisis: An International Call for Action at the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings in April.

Ian Bremmer, President and Founder of Eurasia Group, a global political risk research and consulting firm.

Collect More - Spend Better, Eric Postel

June 09, 2016

Informal street trader sells maize near capital Lilongwe, Malawi. Some countries have very few taxpayers on the books (REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo).

Billions of uncollected tax dollars in developing countries could be used to lift more people out of poverty. In this podcast, Eric Postel, USAID’s Associate Administrator explains how redoubled efforts to improve tax systems worldwide are making a difference. Postel participated in seminar entitled Collect More & Spend Better at the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings in April.

Eric Postel, Associate Administrator at the U.S. Agency for International Development

Steven Radelet, Africa’s Rise—Interrupted?

June 03, 2016

Absa Cape Epic mountain bike race, Cape Town, South Africa; growth in the region is an uphill battle (photo: Ralph Hirschberger/dpa/Corbis)

If high commodity prices alone drove recent advances in Africa, the prospects for further gains seem dim. But in this podcast, Steven Radelet, says the reality is more complex, and the outlook is more varied than many now suggest. Radelet’s article, Africa’s Rise- Interrupted? is published in the June 2016 issue of Finance and Development magazine.

Steven Radelet, holds the Donald F. McHenry Chair in Global Human Development, and is Director of the Global Human Development Program at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

A Fork in the Road, China’s Relationship with Africa

May 26, 2016

Chinese workers from the Zhongyuan Petroleum Exploration Bureau (ZPEB) of Sinopec and Sudanese workers drill an oil well in South Sudan (F&D June 2016).

Slumping Chinese demand has African economies scrambling to find alternate sources of revenue. In this podcast, we speak with Roger Nord, Deputy Director of the African Department in the IMF, and coauthor of A Fork in the Road, published in the June 2016 issue of Finance and Development magazine.

Roger Nord, IMF Deputy Director, African Department

Refugee Crisis Taking Toll on Jordan, Imad Fakhoury

May 20, 2016

Syrian refugees wait to cross to a camp in Jordan. The wave of refugees is costing Jordan an average of $2 billion per year. (Xinhua/Mohammad Abu Ghosh)

Of the 5 million people fleeing civil war in Syria, more than a million have ended up in Jordan. The refugee crisis has hit host countries like Jordan hard. Imad Fakhoury, Jordan’s minister of planning, joined a seminar about Conflicts and the Refugee Crisis, at the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings. In this podcast, Fakhoury talks about the impacts of the refugee crisis on Jordan.

Imad Fakhoury, Jordan’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation

Kemi Adeosun, on Nigeria’s Dwindling Oil Revenues

May 13, 2016

Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s Finance Minister, IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings (IMF photo)

As Nigeria’s Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun is charged with navigating Africa’s largest oil producer through the biggest oil price slump in decades. In this podcast, Adeosun talks about the need to diversify government revenues, and how inclusive growth can stem rising insecurity. Adeosun joined a panel discussion about sub-Saharan Africa during the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings.

Kemi Adeosun, Nigeria’s Finance Minister

Weakening Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa Calls for Policy Reset

May 03, 2016

Road building project in Marsabit, Kenya. While commodity slump takes toll, some countries benefit from infrastructure investments (photo: Zhou Xiaoxiong/Xinhua Press/Corbis)

The IMF's latest regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa predicts a second difficult year as the region is hit by multiple shocks. In this Podcast, we speak with the IMF`s Celine Allard, who oversaw the writing of the report.

Céline Allard, Head of the Regional Studies Division in the IMF’s African Department

Raghuram Rajan, on the Global Financial Safety Net

April 27, 2016

Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Rajan says the Global Financial Safety Net needs to be stronger.

In this Podcast, we speak with Raghu Rajan, India’s central bank governor about the Global Financial Safety Net. Rajan is charged with securing monetary stability in one of the world’s largest Emerging Market economies, at a time when others are stumbling in the face of difficult global economic trends. Rajan participated in a seminar entitled Fortifying the Global Financial Safety Net, during the IMF-World Bank Spring meetings.

Raghuram Rajan, Governor of the Reserve Bank of India

Too Slow Too Long; New IMF Global Growth Forecast

April 12, 2016

IMF Chief Economic Counselor, Maurice Obstfeld (photo: IMF)

The new World Economic Outlook anticipates a slight acceleration in growth this year, from 3.1 to 3.2 percent, followed by 3.5 percent growth in 2017. But IMF Chief Economist Maurice Obstfeld says projections continue to be progressively less optimistic over time.

Maurice Obstfeld, IMF Chief Economic Counselor

Public Investment Payoff Not Necessarily About Efficiency

April 01, 2016

Road in Sahara desert. Public capital is scarcer in inefficient developing countries, so roads are more valuable (photo: Me. Desjeux, Bernard/CORBIS).

While many economists would argue public investment projects in highly efficient countries have a greater impact on growth, recent research by some IMF economists shows that’s not necessarily the case. In this podcast we speak with the IMF’s Andy Berg, who suggests the impact on growth from public investment spending is similar in both high and low-efficiency countries.

Andy Berg, a Deputy Director in the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development

Gabon Hit by Oil Price Slide

March 22, 2016

Oil extraction well on Ogouee river, Gabon. With drop in oil prices, Gabon will need to shore up non-oil revenues (photo: Daniel Riffet/Photononstop/Corbis)

The IMF’s most recent review of Gabon’s economy shows it’s been hit hard by the oil price decline. In this podcast, we speak with IMF Mission Chief for Gabon, Montfort Mlachila, who says the country can build resilience and revive growth by diversifying its economy.

Montfort Mlachila, IMF Mission Chief for Gabon

Low Skills Low Wages: Eric Maskin on Inequality

March 16, 2016

Rice Harvest near Timbuktu, Mali. Globalization has left unskilled workers behind (photo: Atlantide Phototravel/Corbis)

While it was widely expected that globalization would reduce inequality, income disparities between skilled and unskilled workers has only increased in recent years. In this podcast we ask Nobel Laureate Eric Maskin, why the global markets haven’t offered better economic opportunities for the world’s poorest.

Eric Maskin, Professor at Harvard University, and 2007 Nobel Laureate.

Gender and Opportunity, with Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

March 08, 2016

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala says supporting women in the workforce boosts overall growth (ALESSANDRO DELLA BELLA/epa/Corbis).

On this International Woman’s Day, we speak with Nigerian economist Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Best known for her two terms as Nigeria’s Finance Minister and for her work as a Managing Director at the World Bank, Dr. Okonjo Iweala is always looking for ways to help bridge the gender gap.

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

Migration and the Economics of Language

February 29, 2016

Migrants arrive in Erfurt, Germany. Acquiring new language skills next big challenge for migrants entering Europe.

More than a million migrants have entered Europe this year according to the International Organization for Migration. In this podcast, we speak with Professor Barry Chiswick who says language acquisition is key to immigrant success. Chiswick says language skills among immigrants are a form of human capital, and can substantially increase potential earnings.

Barry Chiswick, Professor of Economics and International Affairs at George Washington University

Collateral Damage: Strong Dollar Hits Emerging Markets

February 19, 2016

US dollar bills over RMB (renminbi) yuan notes at a bank in China. The strong US Dollar is putting added pressure on emerging market economies (Imaginechina/Corbis)

While many economies around the world should benefit from a growing US economy, a strong US dollar is seldom good news for emerging markets. In this podcast, we talk to IMF Senior Economist Nicolas Magud, coauthor of an article entitled Collateral Damage, published in the December 2015 issue of Finance and Development magazine.

Nicolas Magud, IMF Senior Economist, Western Hemisphere Department

Lesotho: Avoiding the Fiscal Cliff

February 08, 2016

Basotho Shepard overlooking Sani Pass, Drakensberg range, Lesotho. A major exporter of textiles to the US, sales of wool are a major source of income for Lesotho’s rural communities (Nicolas Marino/NA/Novarc/Corbis)

The fabled mountain Kingdom of Lesotho achieved strong growth in recent years, but the IMF’s latest economic review shows growth rates have dropped. In this podcast, IMF mission chief for Lesotho, David Dunn, says slower growth in neighboring South Africa has significantly reduced Lesotho’s government revenues.

David Dunn, IMF mission chief for Lesotho

Ghana, the Bumpy Road to Recovery

January 20, 2016

Farmers break cocoa pods in Ghana's eastern cocoa town of Akim Akook. The decline in cocoa prices means lower revenues, making adjustment to fiscal imbalances more difficult (photo: STAFF/Reuters/Corbis)

Ghana is considered one of West Africa’s most stable democracies, and until recently it was a model for economic growth. But since 2012, the economy has taken a turn for the worse, and Ghana is now getting help from the IMF. In this podcast, IMF Mission Chief, Joël Toujas-Bernaté talks about the country’s economic challenges.

Joël Toujas-Bernaté, IMF Mission Chief for Ghana

WEO Update: Emerging market, Developing Economies Face Increased Challenges

January 19, 2016

A Chinese worker rides past a poster showing Beijing's central business district. A sharper-than-expected slowdown in China could spill over to other countries through effects on trade, asset and commodity prices, and confidence (photo: Jason Lee/Reuters/Corbis)

The IMF released an update to its World Economic Outlook published in October 2015. The WEO Update, projects global growth to be slightly lower than last fall’s forecast, at 3.4 percent this year, and 3.6 percent in 2017. IMF Chief economist Maurice Obstfeld launched the new report at a press conference in London.

Maurice Obstfeld, IMF Chief Economic Counsellor

The Insatiable Demand for Sand

January 07, 2016

Cityscape downtown Dubai, Emirates. The Burj Khalifa, world’s tallest tower, is covered in 1.8M square feet of glass, and required 110,000 metric tons of concrete (photo: David Terrazas Morales/Corbis)

As the world’s metropolises expand to accommodate more people, the earth’s supply of sand is being pushed to the limit. Deceptively abundant, the basic raw material for glass and concrete can’t keep up with demand. In this podcast, Pascal Peduzzi, of the United Nations Environmental Programme, talks about how our overdependence on sand is unsustainable.

Pascal Peduzzi, Director of Science in the Early Warning & Assessment Division Of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP)

A Passport of Convenience

December 17, 2015

Offering citizenship in return for investment is proving a lucrative business for some small states (Finance & Development, December 2015)

The confluence of globalization and increased travel security has given rise to a flourishing industry, where residency and citizenship can be acquired by those with means. In this podcast we speak with the IMF’s Judith Gold and Ahmed El-Ashram, who coauthored an article entitled “A Passport of Convenience”, published in the December 2015 issue of Finance and Development.

Judith Gold, Deputy Division Chief and Ahmed El-Ashram, economist, IMF Western Hemisphere Department.

The High Cost of Fighting HIV

December 10, 2015

Anti-retroviral drugs to fight AIDS. Governments and donors need to focus as much on prevention as treatment, says Collier (photo: Krista Kennell/ZUMA/Corbis)

Many more people with HIV are now surviving for longer, thanks to new antiretroviral drug treatments. But their governments must now come up with a way to pay for their ongoing treatment. But the price is putting many countries in sub-Saharan Africa at risk of unsustainable levels of debt.  Read more: From Death Sentence to Debt Sentence

Sir Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

Investment Renaissance; Chinese Entrepreneurs in Africa

December 03, 2015

Workers on assembly line at Huajian Shoes, Dukem, Ethiopia. Chinese entrepreneurs increasingly look towards Africa for business opportunities (Finance & Development Magazine, December 2015).

Africa’s strong growth in recent years has helped improve its institutions and policies, spurring more foreign direct investment from countries like China. In this podcast, David Dollar, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution, says while China is important to the increasing foreign investment in Africa, its role is far from dominant. Dollar is coauthor of “Investment Renaissance”, published in the December 2015 issue of Finance and Development magazine.

David Dollar, Senior Fellow in the China Center at the Brookings Institution

Finding the Low-Carbon Road

November 19, 2015

Solar panels power ice machines at the Sustainable Development Reserve, Amazonas, Brazil. Finding alternative energy sources is key to reducing carbon emissions (Finance & Development Magazine, December 2015)

World leaders will meet in Paris in December to forge a new climate deal that caps global warming at 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial revolution levels. But in this podcast, Nick Stern, Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics, says the world is not yet on the two degree path as carbon emissions continue to rise. Stern is author of “The Low-Carbon Road” in the December issue of Finance & Development magazine.

Nick Stern, Professor of Economics and Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science

Impact of Climate Change “Untenable”, Christiana Figueres

November 13, 2015

Ivanpah, world’s largest solar thermal power station, Mojave Desert, California, USA. Countries need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels in order to reduce carbon emissions.

Climate change has been at the forefront of discussions within the development community, as world leaders prepare to present their plans to reduce carbon emissions at the United Nations summit on climate change in December. In this podcast, the IMF’s Gita Bhatt talks to Christiana Figueres, head of the United Nations framework convention on climate change.

Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Sub-Saharan Africa, Growth Falls to Six Year Low

October 27, 2015

Pipeline running through Okrika community near Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Falling oil prices have reduced export revenue for sub-Saharan Africa’s oil producers, which account for half of region’s GDP (AKINTUNDE AKINLEYE/Reuters/Corbis).

Economic activity has weakened markedly in sub-Saharan Africa, and the strong growth momentum of recent years has dissipated in several countries. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa puts growth at 3¾ percent this year, lower than in 2009 in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. In this podcast, co-author Céline Allard, says low commodity prices, and tighter financing are key factors.

Céline Allard, Head of the Regional Studies Division in the IMF’s African department

The Dark Side of Globalization

October 22, 2015

The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokull volcano in 2010 shut European airspace and sent disruption rippling worldwide—an example of our interconnectedness (photo: Paul Souders/Corbis)

From global financial crises to cybercrime, globalization has its downsides. The director of the Oxford Martin School discusses the pitfalls of the global community’s ever closer union, and offers some possible remedies to its darker side.

Professor Ian Goldin, Director of the Oxford Martin School, Oxford University

Rich yet Poor: The Democratic Republic of the Congo

October 13, 2015

Boys pan for gold in resource-rich Ituri region, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo. DRC considering new mining code to increase revenues from sector (FINBARR O'REILLY/Reuters/Corbis)

If there's one country that exemplifies the difficulty in transforming mineral wealth into inclusive growth- it's the Democratic Republic of Congo. The IMF's latest annual economic assessment indicates while growth rates for 2014 were as high as 9.2 percent, poverty rates in the DRC are still among the highest in the world. In this podcast, Norbert Toé, IMF mission chief for the DRC discusses the key findings in the report.

Norbert Toé, IMF mission chief for The Democratic Republic of the Congo

Corruption Matters; Good Governance Pays

October 08, 2015

NRGI President Daniel Kaufmann says public tolerance for corruption and impunity is lower now (photo Finance&Development Sept 2015)

In development circles, governance is often a code word for corruption. But Daniel Kaufmann, president of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, says governance is much broader. In this podcast, Kaufmann talks about how good governance can actually triple a country's per capita income.

Daniel Kaufmann, President of the Natural Resource Governance Institute

Global Growth Slows Further, IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook

October 06, 2015

IMF chief economist, Maurice Obstfeld, presenting October 2015 World Economic Outlook at press conference in Lima, Peru(IMF photo)

The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) shows global growth at 3.1 percent this year, down from 3.4 percent in 2014. The report says while outlooks vary from country to country, the new WEO forecasts predict slower near-term growth nearly across the board, with increasing downside risks to the world economy as commodity prices continue to fall.

Maurice Obstfeld, Economic Counsellor and Director, Research Department, IMF

Yanquis in Havana

September 23, 2015

Tourist with traditional flower ladies in Old Havana, Cuba (F&D Magazine September 2015)

Cuba has been out of bounds for American tourists for more than 50 years. But with the US recently restoring diplomatic relations, some say it’s just a matter of time before the floodgate opens to a whole generation of baby boomers wanting to experience some of Hemmingway’s favorite watering holes. In this podcast the IMF’s Nicole Laframboise talks about how the thaw in relations between the US and Cuba could shake up the Caribbean tourism industry.

Nicole Laframboise, a Deputy Division Chief in the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, and author of “Yankees in Havana” published in the September 2015 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.

Sub-Saharan Africa Getting a Grip on Inflation

September 10, 2015

Shoppers at high-end clothing market in Soweto, South Africa (Per-Anders Pettersson/Corbis)

Inflation can determine a currency’s purchasing power as high inflation means rising prices. But what drives inflation differs from region to region. In this podcast we talk with Oral Williams, IMF Mission Chief for Malawi and coauthor of a new research paper that shows the drivers of inflation are changing in sub-Saharan Africa.

Oral H. Williams, Area Deputy Division Chief in the Africa Department and IMF Mission Chief for Malawi

The Future of Asian Finance

September 02, 2015

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde presents The Future of Asian Finance book during a conference in Jakarta, Indonesia (IMF Staff/Stephen Jaffe)

Asia fared well throughout the global financial crisis and has since become one of the strongest economic regions in the world. But with the global economy such as it is, a new book published by the IMF says Asia’s financial systems are facing new challenges. In this podcast coauthor Jim Walsh talks about The Future of Asian Finance.

Jim Walsh, IMF Deputy Division Chief in the Monetary and Capital Markets Department and a co-author of “The Future of Asian Finance”

Most Unequal on Earth

August 27, 2015

Latin America a region of stark income contrasts. Informal settlement Parque Real favela and upscale Morumbi neighborhood, Sao Paulo, Brazil (Danny Lehman/Corbis)

While the gap between rich and poor is widest in Latin America, research led by Nora Lustig shows it’s the only region in the world where the gap is actually narrowing. But in this podcast, Lustig admits it’s still unclear what specifically is behind the trend.

Nora Lustig, Samuel Z. Stone Professor of Latin American Economics, director of the Commitment to Equity Institute at Tulane University and fellow of the Center for Global Development and the Inter-American Dialogue.

Painting a Better Picture of Poverty

August 20, 2015

Even in the absence of absolute poverty, people may still suffer deprivation, which requires action, says Alkire (photo: IMF)

Poverty can mean different things in different countries. The creator of the “Multidimensional Poverty Index” explains how the measure is designed to expand policymakers’ understanding of poverty beyond the traditional benchmark of living on less than $1.25 per day.

Sabina Alkire, Director of the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative

Domestic Reforms to Expand Trade

August 13, 2015

Villagers carrying harvest to market in Ethiopia. It’s difficult to trade globally without an efficient local transportation network (xPACIFICA/Corbis)

World trade has slowed in the past decade. Professor Douglas Irwin says countries need to shift from focusing on trade barriers at borders, to domestic reforms that would help entrepreneurs get their goods to port cities for export.

Douglas Irwin is Professor in the Department of Economics at Dartmouth College, and Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research

Russia Feeling The Pinch of Cheaper Oil, Sanctions

August 06, 2015

Checking pipelines for cracks in Siberia: Falling oil prices are putting added pressure on Russia’s economy (photo: Jerome Levitch/Corbis)

Russia is now likely in recession with GDP growth expected to decline 3.4 percent this year, says the IMF in its annual economic assessment. Mission Chief Ernesto Ramirez Rigo, explains how Russia’s economic woes are largely due to the dramatic drop in oil prices, and sanctions in response to developments in Crimea and Ukraine.

Ernesto Ramirez Rigo: IMF Mission Chief for Russia

Building Up India's Infrastructure Capacity

July 23, 2015

Trucks drive past a flyover under construction in India. The country needs to strengthen its capacity to guide public-private partnerships, says Lall. (photo: Reuters/Adnan Abidi/Corbis)

India has invested nearly half a trillion dollars in its infrastructure over the last decade, but finding the funding for mega-projects is only half the challenge. The head of one of the country’s leading infrastructure finance companies explains.

Rajiv Lall, Managing Director & Vice Chairman, Infrastructure Development Finance Company, India

The Global Implications of Lower Oil Prices

July 14, 2015

Fracking Tower in Colorado. Shale oil and new drilling technologies account for more than half of the decline in oil prices according to new IMF staff report(Chris Rogers/Corbis)

While lower oil prices can mean significant losses in revenue for some oil exporting countries, consumers should be paying less for fuel and have more money to spend. IMF’s Aasim Husain says the higher spending will be good for global growth.

Aasim Husain, Co-author and Deputy Director in the Middle East and Central Asia department of the IMF

Paying For the New Development Agenda

July 08, 2015

School children in Kampong Tralach village, Cambodia: IMF measures will help expand loan resources available to low-income countries (Michael Nolan/Robert Harding World Imagery/Corbis)

IMF board of Directors approved a package of proposals to help developing countries finance the new Sustainable Development Goals. IMF’s Sean Nolan says the package will enhance the financial safety net for low income countries and fragile states.

Sean Nolan, Deputy Director in the IMF’s Strategy Policy and Review Department

Global Trade Starts At Home

July 02, 2015

Border post in Chirundu Zimbabwe on border with Zambia where truckers often spend days waiting to clear their goods through customs (Gideon Mendel/Corbis)

Increasing trade can spur growth says Mari Pangestu of Jakarta’s center for Strategic and International Studies. In this podcast Pangestu talks about how efficient, open and fair regional trade agreements make for a healthier global trade environment.

Mari Pangestu, Director of Center for Strategic and International Studies in Jakarta.

Keeping the Glass Full in Burkina Faso

June 25, 2015

Water in town of Dano, Burkina Faso is precious and distribution is strictly regulated (Simone Bergamaschi/NurPhoto/Corbis)

The IMF recently published a study on the world’s water resource management challenges. Co-author Laure Redifer says Burkina Faso is an example of how efficient water resource management can improve a country’s economic prospects.

Laure Redifer, IMF Mission Chief for Burkina Faso

Inequality’s Toll on Growth

June 18, 2015

Steel workers in New York City. Income inequality is at its highest level in decades with half of the world’s wealth in the hands of 1% of the population (Andrew Stern/Demotix/Corbis)

Study by IMF Staff suggests raising income levels of the poor and middle boosts overall economic growth. Co-authors Kalpana Kochhar and Era Dabla-Norris say the wealth of the rich is not trickling down.

Kalpana Kochhar: Deputy Director, Asia and Pacific Department at the IMF
Era Dabla-Norris: Deputy Chief in Strategy Policy and Review Dept at the IMF

Financing the New Development Goals

June 11, 2015

Children scavenging for recyclables to sell in Philippines. Goal 11 of the UN’s Sustainable Development goals is to make human settlements more inclusive and sustainable (Jacob Maentz/Corbis)

As the United Nations prepares to adopt its 17 new Sustainable Development goals in September, Florencio Abad talks about how the Philippines and other countries might find the resources required to hit the targets.

Florencio Barsana Abad, Budget and Management Secretary for the Philippine Government

Solvency or Bust?

June 04, 2015

Auckland skyline, New Zealand. Save during good times to ease the bad, says the country's former PM (photo: Stuart Black/Corbis)

Public debt is a normal part of a government’s finances, but too much debt can have serious consequences for a country. During a seminar at the IMF-World Bank Meetings, one former head of state, who left office with public finances in good standing, explains how her administration succeeded where others have so often failed.

Helen Clark, Administrator of UNDP

Rwanda: Building from the Ashes

May 29, 2015

A defendant stands before a “Gacaca” court in Rwanda. The east African country adopted Gacaca, or "justice on the grass” after the genocide of 1994 (Photo: Rick D’Elia/Corbis)

Two decades on from the genocide in which hundreds of thousands were slaughtered, the tiny east African state of Rwanda has been seeking a path to development and reconciliation.

Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance of Rwanda

Infrastructure Investment: The Case of the U.K.

May 14, 2015

Engineer works on train tracks in UK. Investment in transport links can propel the growth of smaller urban centers, says Spence (photo: Richard Baker/In Pictures/Corbis)

Over the next decade and a half , the United Kingdom will pour hundreds of billions of dollars into transport, and other infrastructure projects. One of the country’s top experts in the field says good planning, and strong political are critical to success.

Geoffrey Spence, Chief Executive of Infrastructure UK

$1.1 Billion in Debt Relief for Chad

May 08, 2015

Refugee camp in eastern Chad.Chad is host to thousands fleeing conflict in neighboring countries, adding pressure on the government’s limited resources. (Photo: LUC GNAGO/Reuters/Corbis)

Mauricio Villafuerte, IMF Mission Chief for Chad says the country has made some remarkable economic reforms since 2010, paving the way for US$1.1 billion in debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative.

Mauricio Villafuerte, Mission Chief for Chad in the IMF’s African Department

Sub-Saharan Africa’s Latest Economic Outlook

April 28, 2015

Workers build bridge in Kenya: IMF says sub-Saharan Africa’s growing workforce could prove to be a boon for region in coming years. (photo: Michael Wirtz/Newscom)

IMF’s Céline Allard says sub-Saharan Africa is set for another year of solid performance despite declining commodities, with a projected growth rate of 4.5 percent for 2015.

Céline Allard, Head of Regional Study Division in IMF African department

Jakkie Cilliers on Fragile States

April 24, 2015

Women rush into a feeding centre while soldiers try to contain the crowd in Badbaado, a camp established for internally displaced people in the country's capital Mogadishu (photo: Stuart Price/UN/Handout/Corbis)

More Than 1 billion people live in countries affected by fragility. Fragile states are often confronted with political instability or conflict, inadequate public services, and lack of economic opportunities.

Jakkie Cilliers, Executive Director of the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa
Claver Gatete, Minister of Finance of Rwanda
Kaifala Marah, Minister of Finance and Economic Development in Sierra Leone

Uneven Global Economic Growth for 2015

April 14, 2015

Blanchard delivered the IMF’s economic forecast for 2015 in Washington DC, at the start of the IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings (photo: IMF)

The International Monetary Fund expects the world’s economy to expand by 3.5 percent this year, but the economic picture differs across the world. The impact of the global financial crisis are still being felt.

Olivier Blanchard, IMF Chief Economist

Lagarde: Prevent “New Mediocre” From Becoming “New Reality”

April 09, 2015

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, speaking at the Atlantic Council April 9th 2015

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said policymakers around the world need to work together to strengthen global economic growth.

Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director

Delving into the World of Shadow Banks

March 26, 2015

A payday loan center in the UK. Lending institutions, which aren't banks, also need to be regulated, says Turner (photo: Nigel Kirby/Loop Images/Corbis)

A former chairman of the UK's Financial Services Industry, Adair Turner, says there’s room for non-bank lending institutions, but thoughtful regulations need be put in place.

Lord Adair Turner, Senior Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking

Finance for All: Promoting Financial Inclusion in Central Africa

March 19, 2015

Small businesses in Central Africa often have difficulty getting loans (photo: Nigel Pavitt/JAI/Corbis)

The IMF and the Central bank of Central African states are co-hosting a conference on Inclusive Growth, in Congo Brazzaville on March 23rd.

Mario de Zamaroczy, Division Chief, IMF African Department

Alun Thomas on Rwanda’s Changing Job Market

March 13, 2015

Rwanda’s growth in agriculture is limited due to lack of arable land. (Photo: George Steinmetz/Corbis)

More Rwandans are leaving their work on the farm to start small household businesses.

Alun H. Thomas, Senior economist in the IMF’s African Department

Ekkehard Ernst on The Shrinking Middle

February 27, 2015

Mural honoring workers by Artist Richard Downs. Cover of Finance & Development’s March issue

The International Labour Organization says while the demand for highly skilled jobs is on the rise, middle-class jobs are in sharp decline.

Ekkehard Ernst, Chief of the job-friendly Macroeconomic Policy Team at the International Labour Organization

Building a Monetary Union in East Africa

February 26, 2015

New book published by IMF examines regional integration in East Africa.

The Quest for Regional Integration in the East African Community lays out all aspects of the ongoing financial integration process for Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

Oral Williams, Co-author, and Deputy Division Chief in the IMF’s African Department

Boosting Women-Owned Businesses Key to Growth

February 23, 2015

More woman entrepreneurs would help recharge the global economy (Photo: Hero Images/Hero Images/Corbis)

Melanne Verveer , served as Ambassador-at-Large for global women’s issues under President Obama. She says more women in small and medium sized enterprises is a catalyst for growth.

Melanne Verveer: Executive Director of the Institute for Women, Peace and Security at Georgetown University

Preventing Another Plague

February 12, 2015

Limiting the international spread of infectious disease is difficult in a globalized world (photo: Alan Hindle/Corbis)

The World Bank has labeled global pandemic one of the greatest risks facing the world today, but according to one economist, preventing such a disaster is only a matter of political will.

Olga Jonas, World Bank Economic Advisor

IMF Grants Help Ebola-hit Countries Drive Down Debt

February 05, 2015

Men unload protective gear to combat Ebola in Liberia. Ebola has had a devastating effect on the economy (Photo: Ahmed JALLANZO/epa/Corbis)

The IMF will provide grants totaling $100 million to the three countries worst hit by the Ebola epidemic. Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will use the funds to cover the cost of servicing their debt.

Sean Nolan, Director of the IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department

Economies of the Bottom Billion

January 30, 2015

Haiti has seen very little growth since the devastating earthquake in January 2010 (© Joel Addams/ Aurora Photos/Corbis)

New report on low income countries helps strengthen IMF's monitoring framework.

Chris Lane: IMF Division Chief, Strategy, Policy and Review
Amadou Sy: Senior Research Fellow, Africa Growth Initiative, Brookings Inst.

Olivier Blanchard, on the State Of The World Economy

January 20, 2015

Global oversupply of oil has pushed prices down by more than 50 percent since June 2014. (photo: Christian Charisius/Reuters/Corbis)

A conversation with IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard, where he talks about the latest downward revisions to the World Economic Outlook. Even with a boost from falling oil prices, the WEO update shows global growth for 2015-16 at 3.5 and 3.7 percent.

Olivier Blanchard, IMF Chief Economic Counsellor and Director of Research

Dirty Energy’s Human Toll

January 16, 2015

Smoke stacks in Datong, China. Taxes could help better reflect the true cost of burning fossil fuel, suggests Parry (photo: Paul Souders/Corbis)

The burning of fossil fuels comes with many costs. Millions of people die each year from the pollution it emits. This follow up to an earlier interview with an IMF economist explores the health risks posed by air pollution and some proposed solutions.

Ian Parry, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF

Michael Spence: Inclusive Growth=Stability

January 08, 2015

Occupy Wall Street movement quickly became a global phenomenon on the premise that the richest one percent controls nearly half of global wealth. (John Sommers II/Reuters/Corbis)

Strong economic growth helps keep people employed and healthy, but there’s a growing sense in many countries that only the wealthiest are reaping the benefits. Nobel laureate Michael Spence says inclusive growth is key to economic stability.

Michael Spence, Nobel Laureate and professor of economics at New York University

Women In The Workforce: Breaking The Barriers

December 31, 2014

Woman worker packing cocoa products at a plant in Abidjan. Women in Ivory Coast could not work without their husband’s consent before the law was changed in 2012. (T.GOUEGNON/Reuters/Corbis)

The IMF says the global economy would benefit by Boosting Women’s Participation in the Labor Force, and hosted a seminar on the topic last fall during the Fund’s annual meetings. Sarah Iqbal participated in that forum and talks in this podcast about the hurdles women face when starting a business.

Read as well the IMF Survey story on Unleashing the Economic Power of Women

Sarah Iqbal, World Bank Women Business And The Law Project

The Cost of Antibiotic Resistance

December 23, 2014

Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) discovered Penicillin. Overuse of antibiotics is making treatment more expensive (Photo: Bettman/CORBIS)

Antibiotics have transformed modern medicine, but their overuse has resulted in more drug–resistant strains of bacteria. As resistance increases, people in poorer countries often can’t afford expensive second-line drugs.

Ramanan Laxminarayan, Princeton University and director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy

Justin Wolfers: Policies To Bridge The Income Gap

December 18, 2014

Homeless in New York. The OECD says the gap between rich and poor is at its highest level in 30 years. (Photo: Lucas Jackson/Reuters/Corbis)

Economist Justin Wolfers explains why the continued challenge of tackling income inequality should be a global priority for countries around the world and across the economic spectrum.

Justin Wolfers, Senior Fellow at The Peterson Institute for International Economics

South Africa’s Economic Challenges

December 11, 2014

Keeping the lights on in Cape Town is getting harder, as South Africa’s power utility enforces more rolling blackouts to cope with increasing demand.(photo: Markus Oblander/imageBROKER/Corbis)

South Africa can celebrate significant progress in its first 20 years of democracy, but faces the challenge of reviving a weak economy. Addressing structural constraints such as electricity shortages are key to increasing growth.

Laura Papi: IMF Mission Chief for South Africa

The World According to Adam Smith

December 05, 2014

Engraving of Adam Smith, father of modern capitalism. Man desires to be loved and to be lovely, says Smith (photo: Bettman/Corbis)

Despite his reputation as the father of greedy capitalism, Adam Smith did a great deal of thinking about the human condition and how to be a better, more generous person. One economist believes that Smith could change your life.

Listen to Russ Roberts on economics as entertainment

Russ Roberts, research fellow, Stanford University, Hoover Institution, and author

Hip-Hop Economics

November 26, 2014

Economic heavyweights Keynes and Hayek duke it out in Robert’s hip-hop music video which has over seven million views

Economic ideas can be a hard pill to swallow for non-academics, and yet virtually everyone can benefit from understanding them. Economist Russ Roberts discusses how he uses stories, rap music and the internet to help the medicine go down.

Russ Roberts, author, research fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Data Drives Better Decisions

November 19, 2014

As the world economies become more interlinked, good data can help identify and manage financial contagion. (Photo: RG.Images/Stock4B/Corbis)

Data has gained prominence as a vital building block for making sound policy. IMF Director of Statistics, Louis Marc Ducharme talks about how the IMF is helping make data more widely available to policy makers.

Christine Lagarde: Managing Director, IMF
Louis Marc Ducharme: Director, Statistics Department, IMF

Income Inequality can lead to Economic Instability

November 12, 2014

Poverty and homelessness can be found from Bombay to the wealthy neighborhoods of New York City. (Alison Wright/National Geographic Society/Corbis)

When the richest 85 people hold the combined wealth of 3.5 Billion poor people, economist Jose Antonio Ocampo explains that Income inequality can shift from a human rights issue to a marker of potentially dangerous economic instability.

Jose Antonio Ocampo, Columbia University professor

Stop Squeezing Workers, and Step Up Investment, says ILO

November 06, 2014

Processing carrots in a factory. Polaski denies that one reason for slow growth is labor inflexibility (Photo: Maximilian Stock Ltd/Science Faction/Corbis)

Labor market flexibility is considered by many to be essential to an efficient market economy. But a top-level official of the ILO says there’s been an excessive focus on worker flexibility. Off the back of an IMF/World Bank seminar, she explained how economic growth can be nurtured to benefit all.

Sandra Polaski, Deputy Director-General, International Labor Organization

Uganda-Capacity Building for Growth

October 29, 2014

Kampala skyline. Infrastructure development projects this year have helped Uganda’s capital city repair roads, street lights, and drainage systems.(Yannick Tylle /Corbis)

As Uganda’s economy continues to grow, so does the need for more efficient ways of managing large development projects. The country’s finance minister says the objectives of each program must be clear, for capacity building to be effective. Minister Kiwanuka participated in a Capacity Building seminar earlier this month–watch the webcast.

Maria Kiwanuka, Uganda’s Minister of Finance

Arvind Subramanian, on Boosting India's Private Sector

October 23, 2014

Unloading coal in Chandigarh. Half of India’s thermal power stations have less than a week’s supply of coal on hand. (Verma/Reuters/Corbis)

Private investment is down in India, partly due to the lack of coal and electricity. Interviewed in late August, before his appointment as the country's new chief economic adviser, Arvind Subramanian says removing those bottlenecks will be key to increasing growth.

Arvind Subramanian, India’s chief economic advisor

Unlocking Economic Growth in the Caribbean

October 20, 2014

Jamaican harvesting sugar cane (photo: Steve Starr/Corbis Images)

Caribbean economies have been slow to recover from the global financial crisis. This week, the IMF and the government of Jamaica will host a high level forum that will discuss ways of boosting the economies of the region.

Bert van Selm, IMF Jamaica representative
Therese Turner Jones, IADB Representative in Jamaica
Brian Wynter, Governor of the Bank of Jamaica
Joanne Creary Johnson, IMF Communications Officer

The Long Life of Keynesian Economics

October 16, 2014

British economist, John Maynard Keynes. Keynesian economics has been modified and adapted with each crisis, says Jahan (photo: Corbis)

The work of master economist John Maynard Keynes has been key in the resolution of successive crises from the Great Depression to the recent global financial crisis. An IMF economist gives an overview of the man, his ideas and their impact on economic policy.

Sarwat Jahan, IMF economist, Strategy, Policy, & Review Department

Strong Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa Continues

October 10, 2014

Rail station site in Ethiopia. IMF urges public spending shift toward infrastructure investment (photo: Negeri/Reuters/ Newscom)

The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa says growth in the region is currently at 5% and will continue to rise to 5¾ in 2015. The good news is overshadowed however in countries worst affected by the Ebola pandemic.

Isabell Adenauer, Africa Department, IMF

IMF’s Recipe to Escape Prolonged Slow Growth

October 09, 2014

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at news briefing: ‘Where growth is low and uneven, we believe that there has to be a new momentum’ (IMF photo)

The world needs more growth, and more jobs to escape the prospect of prolonged, mediocre economic future, says the head of the International Monetary Fund who laid out the prospects for the global economy, and the priorities for the international organization at the start of the IMF-World Bank Meetings.

Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director

Building Roads To Growth

October 08, 2014

Giant pothole. Infrastructure investment can be a powerful impetus for growth and jobs (photo: Corbis)

In the current environment of slow economic growth, there’s a strong case for increasing public investment in countries where conditions are right. A new study in the IMF’s World Economic Outlook suggests the benefits of investing in infrastructure, often far outweigh the risks.

Abdul de Guia Abiad, IMF, research Department

IMF Forecasts Disappointing Global Growth, Uneven Recovery

October 07, 2014

A worker unloads coal from truck inside a coal yard in India. Structural reforms are needed to unlock growth (photo:DAVE/Reuters/Corbis)

The global economy is suffering weak and uneven growth, with countries experiencing different rates of recovery from the global financial crisis of 2008. While the economies of some advanced countries continue to expand, the emerging markets are facing lower domestic demand and geopolitical tensions.

Olivier Blanchard, IMF Chief Economist