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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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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

IMF Approves $130 Million for Countries Worst Hit by Ebola

September 26, 2014

Medical workers in Freetown learn how to protect themselves against Ebola during a training session (Xinhua/Huang Xianbin)

The International Monetary Fund is to give $130 million of financial assistance to the three countries in west Africa hardest hit by the ebola crisis. Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone are facing slowing growth and disruptions to agriculture, mining, and services because of the outbreak.

Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director

Indian and Chinese Exceptionalism?

September 18, 2014

Chinese President, Xi shakes hands with Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad, India. (photo: EPA/Divyakant Solanki)

As the Chinese president, Xi Jinping continues his state visit to India, a leading Indian economist assesses the rapid development of these two giant economies, and suggests that the world’s most populous countries may be forging a quite exceptional development path.

Arvind Subramanian, Peterson Institute for International Economics

Being a Small State Isn’t Easy, But It Doesn’t Have to be Hard

August 28, 2014

Teafualiku island, part of Tuvalu, one of a series of low lying islands that are threatened by global warming (photo: Ashley Cooper/Corbis)

Small states or countries with fewer than 1.5 million people have been struggling economically in recent years. An IMF economist offers an explanation and possible solutions.

Sarwat Jahan, IMF economist

Is Africa Forging a Unique Development Path?

August 15, 2014

Oasis shopping mall, Kampala, Uganda. Africa’s rapid urbanization has fed the country’s service sector (photo: Yannick Tylle/Corbis)

Traditionally, countries developed their economies by moving away from agriculture into manufacturing. This was then followed by growth of the service sector. But many countries in Africa are building their service sector without transitioning through widespread industrialization. Is Africa experiencing a quite different path towards development? Click here for more information.

Douglas Gollin, Professor of Development Economics, Oxford Department of International Development

Avoiding a Hard Landing in China

August 07, 2014

Construction in China. Many local governments rely on borrowing, real estate revenue to finance spending, says Rodlauer (photo: Paul Souders/Corbis)

Chinese economic growth has been slowing in recent years. If the world’s second largest economy is to achieve sustainable, long-term growth, it needs reforms to shadow banking, local government finances and the real estate sector, say IMF economists.

Markus Rodlauer, IMF mission chief for China

How Fiscal Policy Can Address Energy’s Environmental Impacts

July 31, 2014

Coal power station near Cottbus, Germany. Moving from existing to efficient fuel prices would reduce pollution-related deaths. (photo: Rehle/Reuters/Newscom)

Fiscal policies should be center stage in getting energy prices to reflect the harmful health and environmental side effects associated with energy use, according to a new report released by the IMF.

Ian Parry, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF

Firms Told: Pay Your Fair Share to Reduce Inequality

July 10, 2014

Gold miner at work in South Africa. Many sub-Saharan African countries depend heavily on taxes from resource extraction (photo: Charles o’Rear/Corbis)

Equality is not just about everyone getting their fair share, it’s also about everyone paying their fair share. A top NGO chief says the growing wealth gap could be reduced by tightening both domestic and international tax rules.
Read more: Blog and Policy Paper.
Listen on Soundcloud

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International

IMF Offers Free Economic Training to All

July 03, 2014

Students working at their computers, Abuja, Nigeria. A stronger understanding of the economy could help promote a sounder public debate, says Dudine.

The IMF has launched the first in a series of free online courses for those interested in furthering their economic education. One of the course’s instructors explains the benefits of raising the public’s knowledge about economics, and what he himself has learned from the creation of the course. Listen on Soundcloud

Paolo Dudine, IMF economist and Massive Open Online Course instructor

The Rise and Rise of Shadow Banking in China

June 26, 2014

Construction site Shanghai, China. Shadow banking has fuelled the rapid growth in property development (photo: Kohls/Corbis)

Shadow banking is a system of uninsured investments from non-bank institutions. It can yield very high returns, but investments come with the risk of total bust. Despite the potential for enormous losses, shadow banking will continue to be a part of China's economic landscape, says one Sino expert.

David Dollar, Brookings Institution

Africa: Future Bright, If It Does the Right Thing

June 20, 2014

Mining for gold in DR Congo. African countries only receive 3-5 percent of royalties for natural resources, says Armah (photo: Guillaume Bonn/Corbis)

Africa has grown faster than many other parts of the world over the last two decades, but many Africans are still not seeing the benefits. One Africa specialist suggests measures that authorities might adopt to take advantage of the continent’s burgeoning potential.

Bartholomew Armah, UN’s Economic Commission for Africa.

David Dollar on The Sino Shift

June 12, 2014

Migrant workers’ dorm building, China. Future migrants are likely to work in the service sector (photo: Imagine China/Corbis)

After years of double digit expansion, China’s economic growth is slowing. The world’s second largest economy expanded off the back of manufacturing, investment and exports. But, China is now looking inwards for its future growth.

David Dollar, Brookings Institution

How Economics can Inform Moral Decisions

June 05, 2014

Surgeons perform kidney transplant. Perhaps we should consider allowing people to sell their kidneys to save lives, suggests Taylor (photo: Owen Franken/Corbis)

Economists are often criticized for viewing the world through the lens of costs and benefits, while ignoring the morality of an economic decision. But, while economics can’t answer moral questions, it can inform the debate, says one expert.

Timothy Taylor, Managing Editor, American Journal of Economic Perspectives

More, Better Jobs to Reduce Inequality

May 29, 2014

Shadow of demonstrators, Tunisia 2011. High unemployment can fuel unrest as during the Arab Spring in 2011, says Ryder (photo: Hamideddine Bouali/Demotix/Corbis)

Over recent decades, labor’s share of GDP has declined steadily in many countries. The International Labour Organization suggests that reforming the labor market could halt that downturn and, at the same time, help reduce inequality.

Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization

Piketty: The Origins of Wealth Inequality

May 22, 2014

Historically, the rate of return on capital has exceeded economic growth leading to wealth inequality, says Piketty (photo: Pablo Garrigós/Demotix/Corbis)

The uneven distribution of wealth is one of the most debated issues in contemporary politics and economics. In a recently published, best-selling book, Thomas Piketty, explains the historical forces which have resulted in this inequality, and why a global tax on wealth could be the solution.

Thomas Piketty, economist and author of “Capital in the 21st Century”

Rising Inequality: Not All Bad News

May 16, 2014

Worker at small parts manufacturing plant in China. Growth in emerging markets like China has been “pro-egalitarian”, says Cowen (photo: Mick Ryan/Corbis).

News of rising inequality is, more often than not, met with much handwringing. But, the growing gap between the super rich and the rest has also been accompanied by the lifting of millions out of poverty.

Tyler Cowen, Professor of economics, George Mason University

Africa Set for Faster Growth

April 24, 2014

Farmers winnow barley in Ethiopia. A good harvest has helped to boost growth in many parts of Africa (photo: Jim Richardson/Corbis)

The future continues to look bright for sub-Saharan Africa, with robust growth expected to accelerate next year. But the IMF also warns of possible threats to the continent’s economy coming from outside the region.

Isabell Adenauer, Africa Department, IMF

Tax and Spending Ideas to Reduce Inequality

April 17, 2014

Homeless in Beverly Hills, U.S.. Well designed redistribution can even boost growth, says Clements (photo: Joel Stettenheim/Corbis)

Rising inequality around the world is becoming a cause of increasing concern. The IMF recently contributed to the debate by suggesting how governments might use tax and spending to reduce the gap between the haves and the have lesses, without slowing down growth.

Benedict Clements, Fiscal Affairs Department, IMF

Arrested Development: The Role of Agriculture

April 03, 2014

Subsistence farmers plant rice in Madagascar. People can only move out of farming once they produce more than they can eat (photo: Frans Lanting/Corbis)

Why are some countries richer than others? The key may lie in the agricultural sector, says one expert, who suggests that low agricultural productivity may be keeping poor countries in a state of arrested development.

Richard Rogerson, Professor of economics, Princeton University

Man Versus Nature

March 20, 2014

Post-Typhoon Haiyan, Philippines. People in developing economies are more likely to live in high-risk areas (photo: Czeasar Dancel/Corbis)

The frequency of natural disasters has increased, and it’s usually poorer countries that are more affected than the developed. But IMF economists say the right policies can softened their devastating impact.

Nicole Laframboise, Deputy Division Chief, IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department

World Braced to Meet Rising Energy Needs, says BP economist

March 10, 2014

Gas flare in oil fields in N Dakota, U.S. The country is close to becoming energy self-sufficient (photo: Tony Waltham/Corbis)

Over the next two decades, global energy consumption is expected to increase by more than 40 percent, according to the Chief Economist of BP, who describes some of the likely tectonic shifts in the energy sector of the future.

Christof Rühl - Group Chief Economist, BP

The Limits of Economics

February 24, 2014

Trichet during a meeting at the European Central Bank. During the crisis, policymakers felt abandoned by economic models, says Trichet (Photo: Corbis/Schults)

Economists use models to try to make sense of economic trends and shape policies. But, since the financial meltdown of 2008, many have criticized what they see as an overreliance on these models which failed to predict the crisis. The former President of the European Central Bank suggests ways these models might be improved.

Jean-Claude Trichet, Former President of the European Central Bank

Unemployment Benefits: The Good and The Bad

February 06, 2014

A recruitment sign. Unemployment benefits are important for low-income families, to prevent them from falling into poverty (Photo: James Leynse/Corbis)

Unemployment benefits deter job seekers from accepting work, say critics.  But do they?  One expert weighs the evidence.

Robert Moffitt, Professor of Economics, Johns Hopkins University

Bridging Humanitarian Aid and Development

January 30, 2014

Victims of Haiti’s 2010 earthquake. “We save lives, but don’t think about the [future of the] child whose life we saved,” says Georgieva (Photo: Reynold Mainsie/Corbis)

Traditionally, humanitarian workers and development specialists were seen as inhabiting two different worlds, but one expert calls for some joined up thinking to help the people of fragile states.

Kristalina Georgieva European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response

Global Growth on the Rise, But with Wide Regional Variations

January 21, 2014

Washing windows of a building Washington, D.C. The WEO Update projects U.S. growth of 2.8 percent in 2014 (photo: Jewel Samad/Corbis)

Global growth is expected to increase this year, says the International Monetary Fund in its latest report on the health of the global economy. The IMF forecasts global growth to average 3.7 percent in 2014-up from 3 percent in 2013-and to rise to 3.9 percent in 2015.

Olivier Blanchard, IMF Chief Economist

Tackling Youth Unemployment in Africa

January 16, 2014

Governor Sanusi and IMF Managing Director Lagarde. The youth bulge is not only a risk but an opportunity, says Sanusi (Photo: Wermuth/Corbis)

Africa is one of the fastest growing regions in the world, but the persistence of youth unemployment threatens this progress. Some see this growth without jobs as a ticking time bomb. Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of the central bank of Nigeria explains how to tackle this issue.

Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Central Bank Governor, Nigeria

Zambia: Gains Tempered by Large Fiscal Deficit

January 09, 2014

Zambian copper miners. Copper accounts for around 65 percent of the country’s exports. (Joel Stettenheim/CORBIS)

Zambia has enjoyed rapid growth in recent years, but the size of its fiscal deficit looms large over its future, says the IMF in a new report on the state of this south African economy.

John Wakeman-Linn, IMF mission chief to Zambia

We All Need to Benefit from Economic Growth

December 05, 2013

Swedish schoolchildren at work. In Sweden, most children attend public schools creating social cohesion, says Aghion (photo: C Grant/AP/Corbis)

“A rising tide lifts all boats.” That may be true on the oceans, but it’s not always the case when it comes to economic growth. But, countries can choose to pursue economic policies that will benefit all—rich and poor alike.

Philippe Aghion, Professor, Harvard University

Emerging Markets: Future Unclear

November 22, 2013

Financial district in Shangai. China needs legal and institutional reforms to improve its private sector, says Wolf (Photo: Lobermann /Corbis)

After a decade of strong growth, many emerging markets have experienced an economic slowdown. Martin Wolf, chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, explains how these economies might restore momentum.

Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Africa’s Middle Class Spearheads Growth

November 14, 2013

Students in Somaliland. Young Africans should be able to choose between an academic or vocational path, says Ncube (photo: Kari /Corbis)

In a wide ranging interview, the chief economist of the African development bank gave his thoughts on the African middle class, the state of data in Africa and the continent’s stellar economic performance.

Mthuli Ncube, African Development Bank, Chief Economist and Vice President

Slower Growth in Emerging Markets: The New Normal

November 07, 2013

Unloading cabbages in Moscow, Russia. Slowing growth in emerging markets may be the new normal, say Adams (photo: Denis Sinyakov/Corbis)

The recent slowing growth in emerging markets may continue for the foreseeable future says economist Tim Adams. At a recent seminar on "Emerging Markets: Restoring the Momentum", Adams suggested that this change could be a good thing, heralding more balanced and sustainable growth.

Tim Adams, President and CEO of The Institute of International Finance

Africa: Keeping Up the Pace

October 31, 2013

Iron Foundry in China. A slowdown in emerging markets could negatively impact Africa (Photo: Roy Corbis)

In the latest economic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa, the International Monetary Fund expects growth to reach 6% in 2014, up from the 5% expected this year. The region is benefiting from improved domestic and global conditions.

Montfort Mlachila, IMF, African Department

Protecting the World’s Water Resources

October 24, 2013

Child in Sao Tome and Principe. One of the challenges of the 21st century remains universal access to safe water, says Gleick (Photo: Asael/Corbis)

Water is the one resource we cannot live without. Yet, in some parts of the world, it remains inaccessible to many. To coincide with his article in September’s “Finance & Development,” Peter Gleick argues that we need to radically change how we consume this vital resource.

Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute

How to Get Faster, Stronger Growth in Central, Eastern Europe

October 17, 2013

Construction in central Warsaw. Poland was the first country in the region to benefit from an IMF program after the Berlin wall fell (photo: Fedosenko/Corbis)

Since the global financial crisis, growth in the economies of central, eastern and southeastern Europe has been disappointing. In a new report, the International Monetary Fund suggests how this region might be returned to greater prosperity.

James Roaf, IMF, Regional Resident Representative for Central and Eastern Europe

The Threat of the Debt Ceiling

October 15, 2013

Capitol Hill, Washington DC. US politicians are working towards a deal to avoid a sovereign default (Photo: Ward/Corbis)

As US politicians race against the clock to avoid the United States defaulting on its debt, Martin Wolf describes what the debt ceiling is, and its implications for the global economy.

Martin Wolf, Financial Times

Global Growth Patterns Shift

October 08, 2013

Automobile factory in China. Emerging markets are displaying weaker than expected growth says the IMF (Photo: Xu/Corbis)

In the latest update to its World Economic Outlook, the IMF says it expects the world’s economy to grow by 2.9 percent this year—below the 3.2 percent recorded last year. Growth is likely to be driven by advanced economies, while the performance of emerging markets will be weaker than expected.

Olivier Blanchard, IMF, Chief economist

South Africa: The battle for jobs, growth and equality

October 01, 2013

Power station site in Limpopo, South Africa—part of government’s infrastructure investment drive (photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters/Newscom)

Despite its many achievements since the transition to majority rule, South Africa struggles with low growth, widespread unemployment, and sharp social tensions.  The IMF says Africa’s largest economy needs to pursue structural reforms to boost growth and create jobs for a growing population.

Laura Papi, IMF, African Department

Getting to Growth in the Caribbean

September 19, 2013

Nassau, Bahamas where the countries of the Caribbean are meeting to discuss the future of the region (Photo: Sonnet/Corbis)

The countries of the Caribbean may be small, but they are facing many of the same challenges confronting larger nations. These include the need to create more jobs and achieve a more inclusive growth.

Adrienne Cheasty, IMF, Western Hemisphere Department

Kenya's Economy Takes Off

September 13, 2013

Agricultural worker in Kenya. The country is one of the African frontier economies, the next generation of emerging markets (Photo: Corbis/Walsh)

Kenya is one of the success stories of Africa’s economic resurgence. With this strong performance in mind, the Kenya and the IMF will co-host a conference to discuss the country's prospects.

Antoinette Sayeh, IMF, African Department

Liberalization Boosts Growth in Myanmar

September 05, 2013

A fisherman in Lac Inle. International investment could swiftly alter the lives of Myanmar’s low-income agricultural workers (Photo: Maisant/Corbis)

Myanmar has made impressive strides in opening and liberalizing the economy, boosting growth and the economic outlook, but the formerly isolated country still faces some challenges.

Matt Davies, IMF, Asia and Pacific Department 

Universities Boom, But New Grads Struggle

August 29, 2013

Students in Changchun, China. Many developing countries are faced with an influx of new graduates struggling to find a job (photo: Chang/Corbis)

Economic growth in the developing world has been accompanied by massive increases in higher education enrollment. This can feed a country’s development—but it also puts new pressures on a country’s leaders and workers.

Richard Freeman, Harvard University

The Persistence of Informal Sector Work

August 22, 2013

Street vendor in Vietnam. Governments need to extend social protection to informal workers says Freeman (photo: Sitton/Corbis)

As the economies of the developing world expand, new jobs beckon. But Richard Freeman says these countries have seen a surprising persistence of informal sector jobs—which offer low pay and scant worker protection.

Richard Freeman, Economist, Professor, Harvard University

Remittances Can Act as Drag on Development

July 25, 2013

A money changer in Manila. Remittances are a major source of foreign currency for countries like the Philippines (photo: Ranoco /Corbis)

If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of people who send money abroad to friends and relatives, beware!  You may be doing as much harm as good, suggests one IMF economist.  Although these remittances can be a lifeline for families, they can also undermine economic growth. 

Ralph Chami, IMF, Middle East and Central Asia Department

Third World Lessons for First World Growth

July 18, 2013

Worker in a soybean field in Brazil. First world countries have a lot to learn from countries like Brazil, says Henry (Photo: Orezzoli/Corbis)

Developed countries need to be industrious like ants, says economist, Peter Blair Henry.   For years they have offered advice to developing countries on the best path to growth. They might benefit from heeding some of their own advice, he suggests.

Peter Henry, New York University

Global Growing Pains

July 09, 2013

Steel factory laborer in Qundao, China. Lower-than-expected growth in emerging markets is putting brakes on global outlook (photo: STR/AFP/ Newscom)

The global economy is growing more slowly than expected, says the IMF in its latest assessment. It’s revise growth downwards to 3.1 percent this year, and warns risks are rising in emerging markets.

Olivier Blanchard, IMF, Chief Economist

Small, Medium-sized Firms and the Jobs Market

July 03, 2013

A small business owner in East Africa. Government can help small firms by improving access to financing (Photo: Strauss/Curtis/Corbis)

Unemployment is a worry around the world, but it’s a particularly pressing issue for developing countries with their growing, young population. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can be an important source of new jobs, IF governments provide them with the right encouragement.

Meghana Ayyagari, Professor, George Washington University

In Search of Sweet Liquid Gold

June 27, 2013

Boiling maple sap to turn into syrup. The supply of this product is heavily regulated by the global strategic reserve (Photo: Ury/Corbis)

Many countries create cartels to control the price of important commodities because they want to maximize their income or protect key domestic industries. But the use of cartels is criticized for causing higher prices for consumers. We investigate the pros and cons of cartels through the example of the maple syrup industry.

Jacqueline Deslauriers, IMF, Communications Department

Africa: Credit Where it’s Due

June 20, 2013

A tailor at work in Mali. Good credit could be used to improve regional power grids, boosting productivity, says Sy (Photo: Reuters/Newscom)

When it comes to borrowing money on the international financial markets, several countries of sub-Saharan Africa can now access money at cheaper rates than some European nations. The change is historic and could open up exciting opportunities for the continent.

Amadou Sy, IMF, Monetary and Capital Markets Department

Women’s Tales from Wall Street

June 14, 2013

Students celebrate graduation. Women need to recognize the importance of connections to get progress, say Wall street experts (photo: Annie G. Belt/ Corbis)

Despite outnumbering men as college graduates within OECD countries, women are still underrepresented at the very top managerial levels, particularly in finance & business. A group of women veterans of Wall street describe how they got to Wall Street, what they found there, and offer advice to young women who want to get there.

Jolyne Caruso, Carla Harris, Anne Miller, Janet Newton, Darin White

Africa: Onwards and Upwards

June 06, 2013

Farmer walks to market in Uganda. Sub-Saharan Africa must invest in infrastructure, says Kiwanuka (photo:Andrew Aitchison/Corbis)

Sub-Saharan Africa has just completed one of its best decades of growth since the 1960s. This is because the region has learnt lessons from the past, says Uganda’s finance minister, who is optimistic about the outlook for the continent.

Maria Kiwanuka, Uganda, Finance Minister

African Women Need Better Jobs

May 30, 2013

Harvesting coffee in Kenya.  African women need better options than traditional jobs such as agricultural work, says Hallward-Driemeier. (Photo: Souders/Corbis)

More women in sub-Saharan Africa participate in the labor force than in any other region. But, most still face an uphill struggle to make ends meet. For them, the problem isn’t finding work—it’s the kind of work they do.

Mary Hallward-Driemeier, World Bank, Economist

Why Educated Civil Servants Matter to Your Success

May 23, 2013

City Hall Maputo, Mozambique. In poorer economies the more educated tend to cluster in the public sector, says Arezki (Photo: Trower/Corbis)

A country’s economic success depends a lot on how educated its population is. But as Rabah Arezki argues in an article in June’s issue of Finance & Development, a highly educated civil service, in particular, can help promote growth for all.

Rabah Arezki, IMF, Research department

Does What You Export Matter?

May 16, 2013

El Indio gold and copper mine, Chile. Throughout history Chile has had variable success with its copper industry (Photo: Warren/ Corbis)

Some economists say that a country’s exports can determine its economic fate. But William Maloney rejects the idea that exports play such a critical role. He says it’s not what you export, but how you do it. 

William Maloney, World Bank, economist

Africa: Strong Growth and Bright Prospects

May 10, 2013

Food market in Niger. Strong activity in Africa’s low-income countries offsets slowdown in middle-income countries (Photo: Taggart/Corbis)

With a gradually improving outlook for the global economy, growth in sub-Saharan Africa is set to strengthen to 5.5%, according to the IMF’s latest forecast for the region. But growth patterns vary within the region.

Alfredo Cuevas, IMF, African Department

Booms Don’t Last Forever

May 06, 2013

Coffee beans in Uganda. Commodity dependent countries must save their revenue when prices are high, to protect themselves when they become low (Photo: Aitchinson/Corbis)

In recent years, commodity prices have been riding high, and many commodity dependent countries have benefited from these high prices. But this boon is unlikely to last forever: prices may fall, and nations can run out of key commodities.

Jose Ocampo, Columbia University, professor

Structural Change: Paving the Way for Development?

April 25, 2013

Steel mill in Beijing, China. The country’s rapid industrialization was an essential part of its successful development (Photo: Corbis/Liu)

When a country shifts from being largely based on agrarian economy to being based on services, or industry, it is said to have undergone structural change. Harvard’s Dani Rodrik explains why structural change is so critical to development.

Dani Rodrik, Harvard University, Professor

On the Road to Recovery, At Different Speeds

April 16, 2013

Furniture factory in Botswana. Despite their robust growth, developing countries still face many challenges, says the IMF (Photo: Pettersson/Corbis)

Although global growth is expected to reach 3.3% this year, and 4% in 2014, the health of the world’s economy is mixed. Olivier Blanchard, Chief Economist at the IMF explains that although the worst is behind us, policymakers still can’t afford to relax.

Olivier Blanchard, IMF, Chief Economist

Breaking Through the Low-Income Ceiling

April 10, 2013

Students in Bangladesh. Low-income countries still need to address many challenges such as improving education (Photo: Kasmauski/Corbis)

In the last two decades, many low-income countries have experienced economic take off. But in the 60s and 70s, many of these same countries already boasted robust economic performances, until it all came to an abrupt stop. Can low-income countries keep on growing, this time?

Rupa Duttagupta, IMF, Research Department

How to Become Capable of Growth

April 04, 2013