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.