July 21, 2017
After two decades of steady growth, Uganda’s economy has slowed, and life for Ugandans is not improving fast enough.
Drought in the Horn of Africa, regional conflict, and slow credit growth have contributed to this decline, with per capita growth falling to ½ percent from an average of 5 percent for the past 20 years.
In this podcast, the IMF’s Mission Chief for Uganda, Axel Schimmelpfennig, says that some strategic infrastructure investment, better debt management, and tapping into Uganda's new-found oil reserves could help turn the economy around.
“In our estimates the revenues could range on an annual basis from about ½ percent GDP initially to about 4 percent at peak production, he says. “The challenge that many oil producers face is to manage this well.”
Schimmelpfennig says the government is planning to start oil production in 2020, and reap the benefits for almost 30 years.
Schimmelpfennig adds that the Ugandan government is focused on the efficiency of its public investment. “By picking the right projects, making sure they are prepared the right way and executed properly, at the end of the day, infrastructure investment can give Uganda high growth,” he says.
In the meantime, Schimmelpfennig says, the government has plans to increase revenue collection. The IMF has been helping the country improve its tax collection including that of international companies doing business in Uganda.
“It’s a global phenomenon, actually—companies can choose the way they structure their businesses—if they want to pay taxes in Uganda or somewhere else. So, you want to make sure that companies pay taxes for the activities in your country.”
July 19, 2017
Since the adoption of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in 2015, we at the IMF have supported countries to reach their goals through policy advice, training, and financial support. Results will accrue over time, and we already see some notable progress. Continue reading “IMF Support for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals” »
July 17, 2017
Vietnam’s demographic dividend is fast turning into a handicap.
For decades, working-age Vietnamese made up an expanding share of the population, boosting economic growth and helping to keep retirement and health spending in check. Continue reading “Chart of the Week: A Golden Aging for Vietnam?” »
July 14, 2017
Corruption can lead to pervasive distrust in government, generating violence, civil strife, and conflict. And the results are devastating for people.
Another problem is that corruption is costly—particularly for those who are already worse off. IMF research shows that in countries with greater levels of corruption, infant mortality and dropout rates are especially high, partly due to less spending on health and education. Reduced investment in these areas tends to hurt poor people the most, and contributes to higher inequality. Continue reading “Corrosive and Costly Corruption” »
July 13, 2017
Asia today is the fastest-growing region in the world, and the largest contributor to global growth. It has six members of the Group of Twenty advanced and emerging economies, and its economic and social achievements are well recognized.
But 20 years ago, July 1997 marked the beginning of the Asian Financial Crisis, when a combination of economic, financial and corporate problems triggered a sharp loss of confidence and capital outflows from the region’s emerging market economies. The crisis began in Thailand on July 2, when the baht’s peg to the dollar was dropped, and eventually spread to Korea, Indonesia and other countries. Continue reading “What We Have Seen and Learned 20 Years After the Asian Financial Crisis” »
July 11, 2017
Economists tend to agree on the importance of competition for a sound market economy. So, what’s the problem when it comes to governments competing to attract investors through the tax treatment they provide? The trouble is that by competing with one another and eroding each other’s revenues, countries end up having to rely on other—typically more distortive—sources of financing or reduce much-needed public spending, or both. Continue reading “Peer Pressure: Tax Competition and Developing Economies” »
July 10, 2017
Think Londoners and New Yorkers have it bad when it comes to sky-high house prices? Residents of Oslo have reason to gripe, too.
House prices in the Norwegian capital are among the world’s highest, as measured by the average cost of a home relative to household median income. Prices in Oslo are perhaps the most visible symptom of a real estate boom across the oil-rich, Nordic nation of 5.2 million people.
July 7, 2017
If sunlight is the best disinfectant, as US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis once famously said, can it also be a money maker? We have tried to quantify the financial gains from greater transparency that emerging market countries can achieve.
July 5, 2017
Nearly sixty years ago, a little-known band called the Beatles arrived in Hamburg, got a haircut, recorded their first song, and found their sound.
Taking a cue from the Fab Four, world leaders gathering for the Group of Twenty Summit this week can make the most of their time in Hamburg—and leave Germany with a sound plan to strengthen global growth.
June 30, 2017
Ireland’s economy continues to recover after a housing market crash in 2008 plunged the country into a deep and severe crisis. The strong social welfare system provided an important cushion against the worst effects of the crisis.
Ireland’s tax-benefit system is one of the most effective in the European Union in redistributing income. The tax system is relatively progressive and funds a robust system of social benefits, a significant share of which is means-tested. Income inequality before taxes and transfers in Ireland is high—37 percent of income is held by the top 10 percent of income earners. Social transfers make up about 70 percent of income for the bottom 20 percent of earners.