|Opening Remarks by Michel Camdessus to Conference on A Decade of Transition: Achievements and Challenges, February 1, 1999||
April 27, 2001
A decade of experience in the transformation of former centrally planned economies to market-oriented economies has produced important lessons. To identify the lessons from the experience of 25 non-Asian transition countries, the IMF held a conference, "A Decade of Transition: Achievements and Challenges," on February 1–3, 1999, in Washington, D.C. The conference brought together senior government officials, staff from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the IMF, the World Bank, and academics to answer three questions: How far has the transition progressed in different countries? What factors explain the differences in progress and in economic performance? And what remains to be done?
The contributions in this volume cover a broad range of issues relevant to transition: financial stabilization, growth recovery, privatization, banking reform, income inequality, and the changing role of government. The conference discussions raised at least as many questions as they answered. The discussions, and the papers in this volume, provide some answers to the three questions posed above. First, transition countries have made substantial progress in financial stabilization, but progress with structural reforms and institutional development has been distinctly greater in Central Europe and the Baltics than in countries farther to the east. Second, although financial stabilization is essential for renewed economic growth, it is not enough: structural reforms and the development of market institutions must also be sufficiently advanced. Third, while in the next phase of transition the consolidation of stabilization will need to continue, the emphasis will need to shift to several other tasks: carrying through the unfinished structural agenda (especially in lagging countries), accelerating institutional development, addressing egregious cases of income inequality, and dealing firmly with corruption and the growth of vested interests.
I believe that this volume will contribute to deepening the understanding of the challenges still facing the transition economies and the policies needed to address them. The tasks that remain are great, requiring continued determined effort by the countries concerned.