Listen to the brightest minds in the field of economics and development discuss their latest research and deconstruct global economic trends. IMF Podcasts are also available on digital platforms such as iTunes, SoundCloud and Libsyn, and free to use for broadcasters, educators and institutions. 

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Japan: Land of the Rising Robots

September 27, 2018

Robots help travelers find their way in Japan’s airports and train stations. (iStock by Getty Images/ TeerawatWinyarat)

In Japan, deaths outnumber births by 1,000 people per day on average. The population in some regions is now smaller than what it was in the 1950’s. The combination of its rapidly declining labor force—expected to fall even faster than the overall population, and the limited influx of immigrants, creates a powerful incentive for robots and artificial intelligence. In this podcast, IMF economists Todd Schneider and Gee Hee Hong say Japan has no choice but to embrace robots and automation to help the shrinking workforce become more productive. Schneider and Hong coauthored Land of the Rising Robots, an article featured in the June 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.

Todd Schneider, is a Deputy Division Chief, and Gee Hee Hong, is an economist, both in the IMF’s Asia and Pacific Department.

Unpacking Jamaica’s Currency Depreciation

September 12, 2018

Currency movements are normal in an open economy like Jamaica, and Bank of Jamaica’s flexible exchange rate policy will help absorb shocks. (iStock by Getty Images)

Jamaica’s economic reform plan launched back in 2013, has shown promise. Employment is at historic highs and external borrowing costs are lower than they’ve ever been. But economic growth is still slow, and the recent depreciation of the Jamaican dollar has turned attention to a shift in the Bank of Jamaica’s foreign exchange policy. In this podcast, IMF economist Uma Ramakrishnan, says the central bank’s renewed commitment to its flexible exchange rate regime will help stabilize prices and spark growth.

Uma Ramakrishnan is a Division Chief in the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department and heads the team for Jamaica.

Christine Lagarde on The Crisis That Prompted a Rethink

September 5, 2018

IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, says despite the early warning signs, most economists failed to see the global economic crisis coming. (IMF photo)

It’s been ten years since Lehman Brothers—one of the largest firms on Wall street, was wiped out and closed its doors. Only two weeks before it filed for bankruptcy it held more than 600 billion dollars in assets. The fall of Lehman’s turned a volatile financial market into a full-blown panic and is widely seen to be what triggered the global financial crisis in 2008. In this podcast, IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde looks back at one of the most disruptive events in history for the global financial system.

Christine Lagarde, IMF Managing Director

Ralph Chami: Avoiding the Remittance Trap

August 30, 2018

Beirut, Lebanon. While remittances have helped the Lebanese economy absorb shocks, there is no evidence that they have served as an engine of growth. (iStock by Getty images/ramzihachicho)

Few would argue that workers’ remittances—the money migrants send to family in their home country—improve the lives of millions of people. Remittances amounted to over $400 billion last year. That’s somewhere between official development assistance and foreign direct investment in terms of size. These massive financial flows have important consequences for the economies that receive them. But in this podcast, IMF economist Ralph Chami says remittances can also have a negative impact on growth. Chami is coauthor, with Ekkehard Ernst, Connel Fullenkamp, and Anne Oeking, of Is There a Remittance Trap featured in the September 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.

Ralph Chami, is an assistant director in the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development.

Difficulties Present Opportunities for the African Entrepreneur

August 10, 2018

Baobab tree, Senegal's national symbol. Mame Khary Diene's Bio essence transforms its abundant seeds into exotic oils (iStock by Getty images).

Each country in sub-Saharan Africa has its own set of challenges and opportunities. And while the international community puts a lot of resources toward trying to figure out how best to keep the regions economies growing, most Africans would say that Africa's development lies in the hands of its own young entrepreneurs. Mame Khary Diene, is one such entrepreneur from Senegal, where she found her first business opportunity in the form of seeds from the enormous Baobab tree. Diene was invited to join a panel discussion about private investment in Africa during the 2018 IMF World-Bank Spring meetings, and in this podcast she says small businesses are key to creating jobs for Africa's expanding workforce.

The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa devotes an entire chapter on private investment.


Mame Khary Diène is Founder and CEO of Bio essence.

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