Few would argue that workers’ remittances—the money migrants send to family in their home country—improve the lives of millions of people. Remittances amounted to over $400 billion last year. That’s somewhere between official development assistance and foreign direct investment in terms of size. These massive financial flows have important consequences for the economies that receive them. But in this podcast, IMF economist Ralph Chami says remittances can also have a negative impact on growth. Chami is coauthor, with Ekkehard Ernst, Connel Fullenkamp, and Anne Oeking, of Is There a Remittance Trap featured in the September 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Ralph Chami, is an assistant director in the IMF’s Institute for Capacity Development.
Chaque pays en Afrique subsaharienne a son propre ensemble de défis et de possibilités, La communauté internationale a beaucoup investi ces dernières années à savoir comment augmenter la croissance économique de la région, mais la majorité des Africains diraient que le développement de l’Afrique reste entre les mains de ses jeunes entrepreneurs. Mame Khary Diène est une de ces entrepreneurs du Sénégal, où elle transforme les graines de l'énorme arbre de Baobab en huiles exotiques pour la peau. L’huile de Baobab fabriqué par son entreprise est recherchée dans le monde entier. Mame Khary Dienne a été invité à parler de l'investissement privé en Afrique au cours des réunions de Printemps du FMI et de la Banque Mondiale.
Mame Khary Diène, fondatrice et directrice générale de Bio essence.
Each country in sub-Saharan Africa has its own set of challenges and opportunities. And while the international community puts a lot of resources toward trying to figure out how best to keep the region’s economies growing, most Africans would say that Africa’s development lies in the hands of its own young entrepreneurs. Mame Khary Diène, is one such entrepreneur from Senegal, where she found her first business opportunity in the form of seeds from the enormous Baobab tree–Senegal's national symbol. Diène was invited to join a panel discussion about private investment in Africa during the 2018 IMF World-Bank Spring meetings, and in this podcast she says small businesses are key to creating jobs for Africa’s expanding workforce.
Mame Khary Diène is Founder and CEO of Bio essence.
The IMF's latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa devotes an entire chapter on private investment.
It’s been almost 25 years since the end of apartheid, the system of institutionalized racial segregation that left most South Africans with limited access to basic services. The post-apartheid years saw remarkable progress in poverty reduction, access to education and healthcare and reducing unemployment. But some of those early achievements have unwound recently amid slow growth and political uncertainty. The IMF’s latest assessment of South Africa’s economy projects real GDP growth will stay slightly below 2 percent in the medium term, not enough to increase living standards or make a dent in unemployment. Ana Lucia Coronel heads the IMF team for South Africa, and in this podcast Coronel says fighting corruption and improving education will help revive economic growth.
Ana Lucia Coronel is IMF Division Chief for the Southern Africa region and heads the team for South Africa.
Illicit financial flows have been under the spotlight recently. Both the Panama and subsequent Paradise papers exposed large amounts of money held in tax havens—some under questionable circumstances, and the United Nations has included tackling illicit financial flows as a target within its Sustainable Development Goals. In this podcast, the Center for Global Development’s Maya Forstater talks about how much or how little we really know about illicit financial flows. Forstater was invited to speak at the IMF as part of the Developing Economies Seminar Series.
Maya Forstater is a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Global Development.
Le dernier rapport du FMI sur les perspectives économiques régionales de l’Afrique subsaharienne indique qu’avec l’adoption des bonnes politiques, la région pourrait globalement accroître ses recettes publiques de jusqu’à 5 % du PIB. Alex Segura est chef de mission pour le Gabon et il a dirigé l’équipe qui a écrit le chapitre sur la mobilisation des recettes fiscales en Afrique subsaharienne. Dans ce podcast, Segura explique que les gens sont plus susceptibles de se conformer à leurs obligations s’ils sont convaincus que le fisc est équitable.
Alex Segura est conseiller au département Afrique du FMI.
The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa suggests better policy design could help countries increase tax revenues by as much as 5 percent of GDP. Alex Segura heads the IMF team for Gabon, and led the team of economists who wrote the chapter on raising revenues in the report. In this podcast, Segura says when people perceive that the tax system is fair, they’re much more likely to accept their tax obligations.
Alex Segura is an Advisor in the IMF’s African department.
Studying the market for salt in 19th century India and the effects on trade of a railroad built 150 years ago led economist Dave Donaldson to important new findings that are relevant today. Donaldson was the 2017 John Bates Clark Medalist, awarded for the most significant contributions by an economist under the age of 40. In this podcast, Donaldson talks about his work on trade and how it benefits economic welfare.
A profile of Dave Donaldson, Sherlock of Trade is featured in the June 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Dave Donaldson is professor of economics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
As economic advisor to the government of India, Arvind Subramanian helped design the country’s goods and services tax. In July of last year, the national GST replaced the patchwork of value-added, sales, and excise taxes levied by 29 states and the federal government. In this podcast, Subramanian discusses the benefits of the new tax with the IMF’s Chris Wellisz. He says the tax helped create a single internal market for the first time since independence. Their conversation is also featured in the June 2018 edition of Finance and Development Magazine.
Arvind Subramanian, Chief Economic Advisor to the government of India
Estonians rarely stand in line for anything anymore. Estonia ranks among the most digitally advanced countries in the world and virtually all government services are now offered online. Estonia is also where Skype was born. In this podcast, Estonia’s Chief Information Officer, Siim Sikkut talks about how technology has transformed Estonia’s economy, and an e-residency program that is wooing more start-ups. Read more about Estonia’s remarkable digitalization process in the March 2018 issue of Finance and Development Magazine.
Siim Sikkut is Estonia’s Chief Information Officer.
With public debt on the rise in sub-Saharan Africa, boosting the private sector has become more important than ever. Zhi Yong Heng is a private investor for TLG Capital, an investment firm that focusses on equity opportunities in Africa. In this podcast, Heng says investors are missing out on great investment opportunities because of misperceptions of the risks and the business environment in the region. The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa devotes an entire chapter on private investment.
Zhi Yong Heng is Head of Special Situations at TLG Capital
The latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows a modest uptick in growth largely driven by stronger global growth and higher commodity prices. In this podcast the IMF’s Papa N’Diaye, says it’s time to implement reforms that will firm up the recovery. The study shows growth picking up from 2⅔ percent in 2017 to 3½ percent in 2018. N’Diaye heads the team of IMF economists who write the report and he says the uptick is good news for the region which has been experiencing a slowdown in economic growth over the last few years.
When people trust their government, good things happen. They’re much more likely to pay their taxes and support those large infrastructure investment projects that help economic growth. A new IMF paper on the institution’s role in governance issues shows that high corruption means less growth and more inequality. In this podcast, Lea Giménez Duarte talks about how Paraguay has benefited from a transparency law introduced in 2015. Giménez Duarte is Paraguay’s first ever woman finance minister, and joined a panel about transparency and corruption during the IMF World-Bank Spring Meetings.
Lea Giménez Duarte is Paraguay’s Finance Minister
The Global Financial Stability Report, or GFSR, is published twice a year and looks at the risks facing the global financial system. The objective is to prevent future crises by highlighting policies that might help mitigate some of those risks. In this podcast, the IMF’s Fabio Natalucci suggests investors stay attuned to risks associated with rising interest rates and protectionism. Natalucci heads the team of economists who write the overview chapter of the GFSR. The report also looks at crypto-assets for the first time.
Fabio Natalucci, is a Deputy Director in the IMF's Monetary and Capital Markets Department.
While the word hack sounds nefarious there’s nothing sinister about a hackathon. It is a creative brainstorming event that brings together people from the private sector, government, academia, civil society and technical experts to devise solutions to help governments raise revenues. In this podcast, economist Katherine Baer talks about her recent experience in hackathons in Senegal, Uganda and Ivory Coast, and how new technologies can help those governments collect more taxes.
Katherine Baer, Division Chief, IMF Fiscal Affairs department.
Economic shocks and climate change increase the risk of conflict. If current trends continue, 80 percent of the world’s poorest people will live in fragile states by the year 2030. This means the work of development will increasingly be about how to prevent conflict and how to achieve positive change in post-conflict and fragile states. In this podcast, DfID’s chief economist Rachel Glennerster, says economists need to get better at understanding these risks and predicting conflict. Before joining the UK’s Department for International Development, Glennerster was Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab. She was invited to speak at the IMF where she once worked as an economist.
Rachel Glennerster, Chief Economist of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development- DfID.
Some economists would argue that extreme weather can increase criminal behavior by reducing incomes—especially in the agriculture sector. But in this podcast, economist Gordon McCord says the psychological effect of higher temperatures on violent behavior plays a prominent role. McCord is coauthor of a study that uses data from homicides in Mexico spanning 15 years, and considers the impact of a cash transfer program on reducing interpersonal violence on hot days. He presented his research at the 2018 American Economic Association’s Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.
Promoting gender equality can be an economic game changer. The IMF’s latest economic review of Nigeria’s economy says closing the gender gap would mean higher growth and productivity, and greater economic stability. In this podcast, IMF economist and coauthor, Monique Newiak, says Nigerian women could help transform the economy given the chance. The report says Nigeria suffers from wide-spread gender inequality and is therefore missing out on a key ingredient to economic success. Newiak says reducing gender inequality could boost growth by one and one-quarter percent on average.
Monique Newiak, is an economist in the IMF’s Africa department and coauthor of Nigeria’s latest economic review, that includes a study on The Macroeconomic Costs of Gender Inequality in Nigeria.
Nigeria’s economy is picking up according to the IMF’s latest economic review. Growth hit 0.8 percent in 2017 after contracting by 1.6 percent in 2016. The report attributes the increase—in part—to the recent recovery in oil prices. But as the country emerges from recession, the IMF’s Amine Mati says following through on planned reforms regardless of oil price swings and upcoming elections, is key to lifting Nigeria’s growth rates to where they should be. Mati heads the IMF team for Nigeria and oversaw this latest economic assessment.
Amine Mati, International Monetary Fund's mission chief and senior resident representative in Nigeria.
Major discoveries of oil and gas deposits have always been cause for celebration in developing countries, in anticipation of the potential financial windfall. But research has shown that countries with abundant revenues from natural resources often tend to have less economic growth and more social problems than do non-resource-rich countries. And in this podcast, World Bank economist James Cust says in many cases, economic growth begins to underperform long before the first drop of oil is ever produced. Cust and David Mihalyi of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, coauthored The Presource Curse, published in the December 2017 edition of the IMF’s Finance and Development magazine.
James Cust is an economist in the Office of the Chief Economist for Africa at the World Bank and an external research associate at the University of Oxford.
Incomes for Europe’s youth declined after the 2007 global financial crisis—largely due to unemployment. And while things have recovered somewhat, the trend toward short-term work and less stable jobs has meant incomes have not grown and young people are now more likely to fall into poverty. Meanwhile, Europeans 65 and older have seen incomes increase by 10 percent. New research by IMF staff looks at this Growing Inequality and Poverty Across Generations in Europe, and how it could have long term effects on Europe’s economy. In this podcast, coauthor Alexander Pitt says when the young are better off, we’re all better off.
Alexander Pitt, Senior Economist in the IMF’s European department, and co-author of A Dream Deferred: Inequality and Poverty Across Generations in Europe.
In the new world of lower commodity prices, many sub-Saharan African countries are having to diversify their economies. And while sub-Saharan Africa has had periods of rapid growth, the process by which workers move from low-productivity jobs to better paying higher productivity jobs has been slower than in other regions. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa devotes an entire chapter to studying the potential benefits of a stepped-up diversification agenda. In this podcast, co-author Axel Schimmelpfennig says Africa’s young entrepreneurs should be at the heart of the diversification process.
Axel Schimmelpfennig, IMF Mission Chief for Uganda
Populism has become a bit of a buzz word of late. It’s often at the very center of debates about politics and elections. But what about the economic implications of populism? That was the subject of a seminar at this year’s American Economic Association’s Annual Meeting. The panel was organized by the IMF’s Antonio Spilimbergo, and included economic heavyweights Dani Rodrik, Raghuram Rajan, and political scientist Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser. In this Podcast, Kaltwasser says populism is creeping into economic policy.
Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser is an Associate Professor in Political Science at Diego Portales University in Chile, and co-author of Populism: A Very Short Introduction.
While technology is reshaping economies around the world, a recent book published by the World Bank suggests developing countries are missing out on a huge opportunity. In this podcast, economist William Maloney, says the potential returns on investment into Research and Development by developing countries are astounding, and could dwarf international aid flows. Yet, developing country firms and governments invest very little toward realizing this potential. Maloney is Chief Economist for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions in the World Bank Group, and co-author of The Innovation Paradox. He was a guest lecturer at the IMF’s Developing Economies Seminar Series.
William F. Maloney is Chief Economist for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions in the World Bank Group
There are many layers to development. Sometimes there’s a need where the solution is not at all obvious. But other times it’s simply about connecting the dots- when the solution is available but out of reach due to the lack of infrastructure like roads, power lines or telephone wires. Technology is helping connect those dots more than ever before, and the phenomenon has come to be known as leapfrogging. In this podcast, we hear from the people behind Zipline, a start-up that uses drones to make emergency blood deliveries to remote clinics in Rwanda.