Low-Income Countries


Russia’s war in Ukraine and the related fallout have created a challenging external environment for the post-pandemic recovery of low-income countries (LICs). Food and commodity prices linger at elevated level with worsening food security. Global financial conditions tighten as major economies are fighting against inflation. The delay in LICs’ income per capita convergence to that of advanced economies (AEs) is expected to last into the medium term.

Support for LICs


Harm From ‘De-Risking’ Strategies Would Reverberate Beyond China
October 17, 2023

The negative impact of ‘de-risking’ strategies by major economies would be felt beyond China, while comprehensive reforms in China could generate significant positive spillovers

How Financing Can Boost Low-Income Countries’ Resilience to Shocks
June 14, 2023

The economic gains from $272 billion in pandemic support for 94 countries were strongest in the poorest and more vulnerable recipients of IMF concessional financing

Fiscal Policy Can Help Tame Inflation and Protect the Most Vulnerable
April 3, 2023

Smart fiscal policy can help restore price stability and lessen the impact of the cost-of-living crisis.

The Time Is Now: We Must Step Up Support For the Poorest Countries
March 31, 2023

Low-income countries face huge economic challenges and financing needs. They rely on international institutions, including the IMF’s Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust, for vital policy and financial support. Economically stronger countries have a responsibility to contribute to the funding of this support.

Africa’s Rapid Economic Growth Hasn’t Fully Closed Income Gaps
September 21, 2022

Despite decades of rapid growth, regional inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa persist. 

How Europe Can Protect the Poor from Surging Energy Prices
August 3, 2022

With fossil fuels likely to remain expensive for some time, governments should let retail prices rise to promote energy conservation while protecting poorer households.

Policy Papers

The Fund’s Income Position for FY 2023— Actual Outcome
November 17, 2023

This paper reports on the Fund’s income position for FY 2023 following the closing of the Fund’s accounts for the financial year and completion of the external audit. Overall net income of the General Department was SDR 1.7 billion, SDR 0.1 billion lower than estimated in April, mainly reflecting a decrease in the remeasurement gain reported under IAS 19 (the accounting standard for employee benefits) offset partly by higher-than-anticipated returns from the investment subaccounts compared with earlier projections.

Review of the Fund’s Income Position for FY2023 and FY2024
June 16, 2023

This paper updates the projections of the Fund’s income position for FY 2023 and FY 2024 and proposes related decisions for the current and next financial year. The paper also includes a proposed decision to keep the margin for the rate of charge unchanged for financial year 2024. The Fund’s overall net income for FY 2023 is projected at about SDR 1.8 billion, slightly lower than the April 2022 estimate.

Review Of The Adequacy Of The Fund’s Precautionary Balances
December 20, 2022

On December 12, 2022, the IMF’s Executive Board reviewed the adequacy of the Fund’s precautionary balances. The review took place on the standard two-year cycle, after an interim review in December 2021. Precautionary balances comprise the Fund’s general and special reserves. They are a key element of the IMF’s multi-layered framework for managing financial risks. Precautionary balances provide a buffer to protect the Fund against potential losses, resulting from credit, income, and other financial risks. In conducting the review, the Executive Board applied the rules-based framework agreed in 2010. Precautionary balances have risen further since the 2021 interim review and coverage metrics have strengthened. At the same, credit and other financial risks have also increased. The pace of reserve accumulation is expected to remain adequate. Against this background, Executive Directors endorsed staff’s proposal to retain the current medium-term target of SDR 25 billion and the minimum floor of SDR 15 billion. The Board also discussed the role of surcharges, which are primarily a component of the Fund’s risk management framework but also contribute to reserves accumulation.

The Fund’s Income Position for FY 2022—Actual Outcome
December 16, 2022

This paper reports on the Fund’s income position for FY 2022 following the closing of the Fund’s accounts for the financial year and completion of the external audit.

Macroeconomic Developments and Prospects in Low-Income Countries - 2022
December 8, 2022

Russia’s war in Ukraine and the related fallout have created a challenging external environment for the post-pandemic recovery of low-income countries (LICs). Food and commodity prices linger at elevated level with worsening food security. Global financial conditions tighten as major economies are fighting against inflation. The delay in LICs’ income per capita convergence to that of advanced economies (AEs) is expected to last into the medium term.

Guidance For The Investment Of Temporary Resources To Generate Income To Contribute To PRG, PRG-HIPC, And CCR Trusts Assets
November 7, 2022

In July 2017, the Executive Board adopted a decision (hereinafter the ”Decision”) regarding the investment of resources provided to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (“PRG Trust”) and other trusts on a temporary basis with the purpose of generating income for the operations of these trusts (“temporary resources”). This paper proposes that the Decision be amended to clarify that those temporary resources invested under the third option for PRG Trust contributors will be centralized in the Deposit and Investment Account (DIA).

Research & Publications

Navigating the Well-Being Effects of Monetary Policy: Evidence from the Euro Area
December 1, 2023

Central banks have recently adjusted their communication strategies to enhance engagement with the general public, yet there is limited understanding of public sentiment regarding monetary policy announcements. This paper investigates whether monetary policy announcements influence household (subjective) well-being in Germany over the period 2002-2018 and finds that tightening surprises reduce life satisfaction. Notably, the impact of a one standard deviation monetary policy shock on well-being is equivalent to a 4% decline in household income. This effect is particularly pronounced among middle-aged individuals and those belonging to the middle-class.

Is FinTech Eating the Bank's Lunch?
November 17, 2023

This paper examines how the growing presence of FinTech firms affects the performance of traditional financial institutions. The findings point to a negative impact on profitability, primarily due to a reduction in interest income and a rise in operational costs. Although established financial institutions have tried to diversify their revenue streams, these efforts have proven inadequate to offset the losses associated with increased competition from FinTech firms. Our study also reveals that various FinTech business models, such as Peer-to-Peer (P2P) lending and Balance Sheet lending, have varying effects on financial institutions. Cooperative banks experience more significant profit deterioration under both models, whereas (larger) commercial banks appear to benefit from partnerships with P2P platforms, as evidenced by an increase in non-interest income. Furthermore, the findings suggest that FinTech presence has a disproportionately larger adverse effect on banks in countries with more competitive, profitable, and developed financial systems. Interestingly, however, traditional financial institutions in countries with stronger regulatory frameworks appear to benefit from the expanding influence of FinTech firms.

Inclusive GovTech: Enhancing Efficiency and Equity Through Public Service Digitalization
October 27, 2023

How could the GovTech improve budget processes and execution efficiency? Could the GovTech strengthen redistributive function of public expenditure? Based on an event-study method, this paper finds that the introduction of digital budget payments and e-procurement could significantly enhance budget transparency and help expand the coverage of social assistance to reach the most vulnerable population. Exploiting staggered adoption of digital budget payments, a synthetic control regression identifies meaningful increase in pre-tax income shares among the bottom 50th percentile and female workers, especially for emerging market and developing countries, with effects materializing gradually over 10-year period. The paper delves into the potential mechanism driving these equity benefits, highlighting the reduction in business informality as a primary channel. However, the paper emphasizes that the mere adoption of GovTech strategies or digital technologies is insufficient to unlock its full potential. The outcomes are intricately linked to supporting policies, regulations, organizational and system integration, and robust digital connectivity. The paper underscores that inter-agency coordination facilitated by a dedicated GovTech institution emerges as a critical factor for reaping both efficiency and equity gains from GovTech initiatives.

When Will Global Gender Gaps Close?
September 15, 2023

On the current pace of reforms, global gender gaps are estimated to close, using deterministic (linear or log-linear) trends, over the next three centuries. This means that many women will likely not be able to fully use their abilities and talents, to the detriment of societies, for a long time. Yet this paper shows that, absent a significant step up in policy efforts, gender gaps may in fact never close. Using Markov chains, a common approach in macroeconomics, this paper analyzes the dynamics of the cross-country distribution of the gender gap in labor force participation. This methodology does not impose strong restrictions on the data, allowing for episodes of progress as well as regress by countries on gender inequality. Based on the experience of the past three decades, the analysis predicts a further narrowing of gender gaps over time. But the long-run distribution of gender gaps in labor force participation features a substantial share of countries with persistently large gaps, implying that—absent a strengthened and systematic policy effort—some of the current misallocation of women’s talents and abilities could persist perpetually.

Estimation and Determinants of Cost Efficiency: Evidence from Central Bank Operational Expenses
September 15, 2023

The finances of central banks is a topic of renewed interest: many central banks are posting significant losses due to the cost of monetary policy, over which central banks have no control. Conversely, operational expenses, over which the central banks have more control, is a subject of less attention. We use public income statement data from central banks to calculate a score for operational expense efficiency based on a stochastic frontier analysis. In addition, we offer potential explanations for the observed variations in efficiency levels across central banks. Our analysis reveals significant heterogeneity across countries and income groups. Central banks with a single objective demonstrate higher efficiency compared with those with multiple objectives. Regarding the output of price stability, central banks in low-income developing countries exhibit lower efficiency compared with central banks in emerging markets and advanced economies. Factors such as central bank independence, the depth of the financial system, and the degree of openness play a role in influencing efficiency levels. Our findings underscore the significance of well-defined objectives, the operating environment, and concentration on core activities in reducing inefficiency.

Coping with Climate Shocks: Food Security in a Spatial Framework
August 11, 2023

We develop a quantitative spatial general equilibrium model with heterogeneous house-holds and multiple locations to study households’ vulnerability to food insecurity from cli-mate shocks. In the model, households endogenously respond to negative climate shocks by drawing-down assets, importing food and temporarily migrating to earn additional income to ensure sufficient calories. Because these coping strategies are most effective when trade and migration costs are low, remote households are more vulnerable to climate shocks. Food insecure households are also more vulnerable, as their proximity to a subsistence requirement causes them to hold a smaller capital buffer and more aggressively dissave in response to shocks, at the expense of future consumption. We calibrate the model to 51 districts in Nepal and estimate the impact of historical climate shocks on food consumption and welfare. We estimate that, on an annual basis, floods, landslides, droughts and storms combined generated GDP losses of 2.3 percent, welfare losses of 3.3 percent for the average household and increased the rate of undernourishment by 2.8 percent. Undernourished households experience roughly 50 percent larger welfare losses and those in remote locations suffer welfare losses that are roughly two times larger than in less remote locations (5.9 vs 2.9 percent). In counterfactual simulations, we show the role of better access to migration and trade in building resilience to climate shocks.


Promoting Climate-Resilient and Green Development in Africa | Africa Perspectives
February 7, 2023

A conversation on how sub-Saharan Africa can promote climate-resilient and green development. African Department director Abebe Aemro Selassie hosts the premiere episode of Africa Perspectives.

Zambia: Towards a More Resilient and Inclusive Future
February 1, 2023

A discussion with University of Zambia students on how Zambia is making progress in its reform efforts to restore sustainability, invest in youth, combat corruption, and attract investment and the role of the IMF.

Strengthening Institutions for Sustainable Growth in the Post-COVID World
January 6, 2023

The conference provides an opportunity to discuss how South Asia can build on its development success in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic and geopolitical tensions to achieve its potential.

The Resilience and Sustainability Trust - A Dialogue with Countries
December 13, 2022

A discussion on how the Resilience and Sustainability Trust fits wider climate objectives at the country and global level.

Regional Economic Outlook for the Middle East and North Africa, October 2022
November 2, 2022

Jihad Azour, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia Department, presents the IMF’s latest economic outlook and growth projections for the MENA region

Living on the Edge: IMF Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa Nairobi Launch
November 1, 2022

A presentation and discussion of the October 2022 Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa.


The Infrastructure Seminar series provides a forum for leading experts to share latest insights on key policy issues related to public infrastructure.
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Developing Economies Seminars

Developing Economies Seminars
A flagship seminar at the Fund, the Developing Economies Seminar Series focuses on topical policy issues for developing countries.
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FCDO/IMF Project

FCDO/IMF Project
The IMF has partnered with the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to study critical macroeconomic policy issues in low-income countries to promote sustainable and inclusive growth in low-income countries.
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