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CGD’s work on the International Monetary Fund investigates the effects of IMF policies on developing countries.
Current work centers on issues of development and debt sustainability. For example, in countries hosting large refugee populations, how can fiscal pressures to support refugees be reconciled with the need for debt reduction? What is the IMF’s role in helping countries reconcile these competing priorities? In frontier markets, is recent rapid debt accumulation putting hard-won macroeconomic sustainability and development investment programs in jeopardy? What mechanisms can best be used by the IMF and others to slow debt accumulation while keeping investment going? What are the best practices for debt transparency? If debt crises occur in the future how will they be resolved? CGD’s ongoing work explores these questions and more.
Economic recovery in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is gaining momentum, but more work is needed to ensure growth is both sustainable and inclusive. Looking ahead, activity is expected to gather further momentum—reflecting stronger demand at home and a supportive external environment. But there are still challenges ahead. Risks to the region’s outlook reflect internal factors as well as heightened external risks—notably, a shift towards more protectionist policies and a sudden tightening of global financial conditions. Additionally, longer-term growth prospects for Latin America and the Caribbean remain subdued.
When the world’s finance ministers and central bank governors assemble in Washington later this month. they would do well to focus on another looming debt crisis that could hit some of the poorest countries in the world, many of whom are also struggling with problems of conflict and fragility and none of which has the institutional capacity to cope with a major debt crisis without lasting damage to their already-challenged development prospects.
Even for countries that are far away from graduating from foreign aid, the importance of domestic resource mobilization for maintaining macroeconomic stability and sustained economic growth is well documented. A look at the experience of countries that have received HIPC debt relief validates this point and underlines the need for attaching a high priority to tax policies and practices in international assistance programs for low income countries.
To say that John Bolton, President Trump’s latest pick for National Security advisor is a well-known UN critic would be an understatement. But it’s well worth noting that he has opinions about the IMF and the multilateral development banks too.
The purpose of this presentation was to use two cases of IMF-supported program conditionality to animate a discussion of the bridge between first-best policy advice and on-the-ground development policy in country-specific political economy contexts. Having been involved as Minister of Finance in the Liberia case, and as Director of the Fund’s African Department in the Mozambique case, I approach the issue from both an outside- and an inside-the-IMF perspective.