A third of countries in sub-Saharan Africa are currently involved in conflict or experiencing post-conflict tension, forcing an estimated 18 million people away from their homes and livelihoods. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa provides an in-depth analysis of conflict trends and the socio-economic challenges faced by countries in the region. Economists, Siddharth Kothari and Mahvash Saeed Qureshi spearheaded the study. In this podcast, they say conflicts strain public finances and shift scarce resources away from social and developmental spending, accentuating their debilitating consequences.
Mahvash Saeed Qureshi is a Deputy Division Chief and Siddharth Kothari is an economist in the Regional Studies Division of the IMF’s African department.
A key objective of the IMF is to pick up on trends that could potentially compromise economic stability, and the Global Financial Stability Report is designed to help do just that. Fabio Natalucci heads the team of economists who write the biannual publication known as the GFSR. In this podcast, Natalucci says the latest report shows financial stability risks are higher than they were six months ago, due in part to rising corporate debt.
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Fabio Natalucci, is Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.
The notion of citizenship is relatively recent in our history. It was only in the 19th century with the birth of the nation-state that came the need to establish a legal distinction between those who belonged to the state and those who didn’t. But being a national or a foreigner influences one’s financial decisions, which can have a significant impact on a country’s economic development. In this podcast, IMF economist Patrick Amir Imam says while some citizenship laws help boost growth others can create conflict and instability. Imam is the representative of the IMF in Zimbabwe, and co-author of Citizenship and Growth, published in the March 2019 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Risk analysis is an important element in growth forecasting, and detecting vulnerabilities within the global financial system helps policymakers mitigate risks. In an effort to broaden the scope of its risk analysis, the IMF developed a new open-source tool that looks at the entire distribution of future GDP growth rather than the traditional point forecasts. The tool is now shared on GitHub, one of the world’s biggest software development platforms. Prasad Ananthakrishnan heads the strategy and planning unit in the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets department, and helped develop the Growth at Risk forecasting tool, as it is known. In this podcast, Ananthakrishnan says making the tool available to other economists on Github will make it better over time and help demystify the forecasting process
Economists around the world can contribute to the development of the IMF's new open-source global financial risk analysis tool. (iStock by Getty images/akindo)
Immigration can put extra pressure on governments to fund social programs, especially in times of slow economic growth. In this podcast, Political Scientist Charlotte Cavaille, says rising populism in some countries is fueling a debate about who should have access to government funded programs. Cavaille studies immigration and public opinion toward the welfare state, and was invited by the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development to present her research on immigration, redistribution, and the electoral success of far-right populism.
The effects of copyright and patent laws on artistic creativity and technological innovation are gaining more and more significance in today’s economy driven to a large part by content. Economic historian Petra Moser uses data from 19th century Italian operas and world fairs to examine the economic implications of basic copyright and patent protection for innovators. In this podcast, Moser describes how Napoleon’s military victories in Italy in the late 1700s changed the copyright landscape and created an excellent model to study the effects on Italian opera composers. Petra Moser is an associate professor of Economics at New York University, and was invited by the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development to present her research on the economic impact of creativity and innovation.
While sub-Saharan Africa has lagged behind the rest of the world in access to finance, some countries in the region are bucking the trend thanks to advancements in financial technology known as Fintech. Mobile technology has made sub-Saharan Africa the global leader in mobile money transfer services, helping provide financial services to millions previously off the formal financial grid. A new IMF study shows Fintech is emerging as a technological enabler, improving financial inclusion and serving as a catalyst for innovations in other sectors. In this podcast, economist Amadou Sy, says Fintech could be a real game changer for the region. Sy is an Advisor in the African Department at the IMF, and headed this new research on the impact of Fintech in Sub-Saharan African Countries.
Amadou Sy, is an Advisor in the IMF’s African Department.
For many countries, broadening access to basic services like education and healthcare is fiscally daunting. Economies in developing countries are often informal for the most part, making it difficult for governments to collect the taxes that ultimately fund these programs. In this podcast, IMF economist David Coady says good policy decisions will help countries find the resources they need to strengthen their social safety nets. Coady is a social spending expert in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department, and author of Creating Fiscal Space featured in the December 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
David Coady heads the Expenditure Policy division in the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department.
There’s been a huge surge in data usage across all sectors of the economy of late. And in the financial sector, recent research by MIT’s Maryam Farboodi shows that while data resolves some risk for investors, it also creates risk. In this podcast, Farboodi talks about how big data is disproportionally benefiting the larger firms and how the distributional aspects of data may be exacerbating inequality. Maryam Farboodi is an Assistant Professor of Finance at the MIT Sloan School of Management, her research on Data in Finance has been published in the National Bureau of Economic Research. Farboodi was invited to speak at the IMF’s Institute for capacity Development.
The changing nature of work is turning traditional employment on its head. More and more people are working in the gig economy or in jobs without formal employment contracts, and the payroll-based industrial-era social insurance policies are no longer providing the safety net for which they were designed. Michal Rutkowski oversees the World Bank’s work in developing systems that protect the most vulnerable sectors of society, and helped produce the 2019 World Development Report on the Future of Work. In this podcast, Rutkowski says 70 percent of the world’s population is now in the informal labor market without the means to contribute to health care insurance or pension plans. Rutkowski is author of Reimagining Social Protection featured in the December 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Michal Rutkowski is Senior Director for Social Protection and Jobs at the World Bank Group.
Technology is quickly changing the nature of work. Full-time employment with health care and a pension is being replaced with short-term contracts with no benefits, leaving workers exposed. Sharan Burrow has been General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation since 2010, and a champion of workers rights in the age of technology. Burrow joined a panel on social protection and the future of work during the 2018 IMF-World Bank Annual meetings. The IMF’s David Pedroza sat down with Sharan Burrow in Bali, Indonesia, where the meetings took place.
Advances in technology are already shaking up the landscape for jobs in many regions around the world. But with its rapidly growing population, sub-Saharan Africa stands to be particularly impacted by the wave of technological innovation known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa looks at how technology and other factors like climate change and trade might affect the region’s job market. Economist Axel Schimmelpfennig led the study on the future of work, and in this podcast he says one of the challenges for the region is to support those workers who are being dislocated by technological change.
This new research will be discussed at the Future of Work in Sub-Saharan Africa conference in Ghana, Dec. 17, 2018.
Axel Schimmelpfennig is a Division Chief, and heads the Uganda team in the IMF’s Africa department.
The human instinct to trade goes back thousands of years, and Sir Barry Cunliffe has been digging up evidence of those first steps toward today’s globalized world throughout his long career as one of Europe’s most highly respected archaeologists. Sir Cunliffe is an Emeritus professor at Oxford University and a Commissioner of English Heritage. He was invited to speak to economists as part of the IMF Futurist Series, designed to bring outside views to the Fund and spark new ideas. In this podcast, Sir Barry Cunliffe says cultural and economic values should be one and the same.
His latest book By Steppe, Desert, and Ocean is published by Oxford University Press.
Sir Barry Cunliffe served as President of the Society of Antiquaries, Governor of the Museum of London, and a trustee of the British Museum. He received a knighthood in 2006.
(photo: B540/Guillem Lopez/Photoshot/Newscom)
As the world becomes more interconnected and economies more integrated, the role of communications and journalism is increasingly important. But cutting through all the noise is not always easy. In this podcast, legendary Financial Times journalist, Martin Wolf, sits down with the head of IMF communications, Gerry Rice, to talk about the state of global cooperation and the corrosion of trust. Wolf has been reporting on the global economy for over three decades, and his writing influenced policymakers during the global financial crisis. Their conversation was recorded during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Bali, Indonesia.
Martin Wolf’s book The Shifts and the Shocks is published by Penguin books.
In the wake of the global financial crisis and with low interest rates lingering in most advanced economies, investors have increasingly been looking at Africa for investment opportunities. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa examines what this spectacular increase in capital flows means for the region. In this podcast, economist Mahvash Saeed Qureshi says the recent rise in investment capital offers a lot of opportunities but also carries risks. Qureshi led the research team that wrote the report.
Mahvash Saeed Qureshi is a Deputy Division Chief in the IMF’s African department.
Photo: Global factors such as U.S. interest rates and commodity prices have a direct impact on capital flows to sub-Saharan Africa. (iStock by Getty Images/fotopoly)
There is a growing body of research that shows that more women in the labor force means higher economic growth, and for longer periods. And while some sectors have made progress in breaking down gender barriers, the rise of technology in others presents new challenges for women. Vera Songwe is the first woman to head the U.N.’s Economic Commission for Africa, and in this podcast, Songwe says African women are especially disadvantaged in the technology sector because they often don’t have access to the internet. Songwe talked to IMF’s Angela Gaviria while attending the IMF-World Bank Annual meetings in Bali, Indonesia.
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While countries around the world scramble to find new revenue streams, it turns out most are sitting on wealth they don’t even know they own. The IMF’s Fiscal Monitor launched in October, analyses public wealth in 31 countries to find their assets worth $101 trillion or 219 percent of GDP. Dag Detter is a specialist in public commercial assets, and works as an adviser to local and national governments to help make their public assets work for the benefit of their citizens. In this podcast, Detter says countries could easily double the amount of money available for infrastructure if assets were properly managed. Detter is co-author of Unlocking Public Wealth, featured in the March 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Dag Detter and Stefan Folster's book The Public Wealth of Nations is published by Palgrave Macmillan.
PHOTO: The city of Boston is one of many cities worldwide to underestimated the value of its public assets. (iStock by Getty images)
Not everyone benefits equally from strong economic growth. And while most economists focus on optimizing policies to produce higher growth, economist Jonathan Ostry argues that it is how the benefits from that growth are distributed that will ultimately determine whether the growth will last. Ostry is deputy director of the IMF’s Research Department, and says the supply-side policies commonly prescribed by economists to increase growth often benefit disproportionately the wealthier segments of society and result in economies that are less resilient.
Jonathan Ostry is author of several books and articles on inequality, including Growth or Inclusion? featured in the June 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine. Ostry’s latest book Confronting Inequality, which he coauthored with IMF colleagues Prakash Loungani and Andrew Berg, is published by Columbia University Press.
The IMF-World Bank Annual meetings bring together people from around the world to discuss issues that affect the global economy. This year’s meetings were held in Bali, Indonesia, and one issue at the top of the agenda was the rising backlash to globalization by workers who feel they’re losing jobs to trade and immigration. Roberto Azevêdo, Director General of the World Trade Organization dispels those claims, and in this podcast, the IMF’s Camilla Andersen asks Azevêdo why he thinks international trade has been under fire of late.
PHOTO: Roberto Azevêdo, World Trade Organization’s Director General, says trade and immigration should not be blamed for employment woes. (IMF photo)
Oil prices have bounced back somewhat but the IMF's latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows why energy exporters shouldn’t get too comfortable. "The level of oil prices that we see currently don’t imply growth rates in the future that are high enough, and that are anywhere near what we had seen before the oil slump.” Papa N’Diaye is head of research in the IMF’s African Department, and in this podcast, he says while the macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa continues to strengthen–thanks to ongoing reforms and stronger global growth, growth rates still fall short of what the region really needs. N’Diaye oversaw the writing of this latest regional economic outlook.
Photo: Now What? Growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa are too low to create enough jobs for its growing labor force. (iStock by Getty Images/peopleimages).
Le dernier rapport du FMI sur les perspectives économiques régionales indique que la croissance s’accélère, grâce en partie, à la hausse du cours des produits de base. »En fin, la raison pour laquelle la croissance augmente c’est par ce que les pays exportateurs de pétrole se remettent peu à peu de ce choc avec le bénéfice des prix plus élevés du pétrole.» Papa N’Diaye, dirige la division des études régionales au département Afrique du FMI, et il dit que tandis que la perspective macroéconomique pour l'Afrique subsaharienne continue à se renforcer–merci aux réformes en cours et la croissance mondiale plus forte, les taux de croissance ne répondent toujours pas au besoin réel de la région. N’Diaye a supervisé la rédaction de cette nouvelle perspective économique régionale.
Photo: Et maintenant? La croissance en Afrique subsaharienne reste trop faible pour créer suffisamment d’emplois pour absorber l’augmentation rapide de sa population active. (iStock by Getty Images/peopleimages)
The IMF’s Global Financial Stability Report is a weather vane of sorts. It’s main objective is to spot shifting trends that could pose risks to the global financial system. Ten years ago, a volatile market and the subsequent collapse of a Wall Street investment firm led to a financial crisis that affected economies around the world. In this podcast, Fabio Natalucci says while that crisis is now well behind us, some dark clouds are gathering on the horizon. Natalucci heads the team of economists who write the overview chapter of the GFSR.
Fabio Natalucci, is Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.
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.
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, economist Uma Ramakrishnan, says the central bank’s renewed commitment to its flexible exchange rate regime will help stabilize prices and spark growth. Ramakrishnan heads the IMF team for Jamaica.
Uma Ramakrishnan is a Division Chief in the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department and heads the team for Jamaica.
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.