The global crisis has pushed trade reforms off—or at least to the edge of—the political radar screen. But shying away from improving the trade system may actually jeopardize growth and jobs, and in these tough economic times that seems a little like cutting off your nose to spite your face. The Fund may not be the main player on the trade ‘block’, but we certainly take an interest given its macroeconomic importance. And, in the spirit of moving forward the discussion, and indeed the policies in support of, trade integration, the Fund has three main lines of work in the pipeline.
With only five years to go until the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals, the global financial crisis struck a blow to the poverty reduction agenda. All is not lost, however. Reducing poverty on a massive scale is do-able—the number of people living in extreme poverty fell by a staggering 400 million from 1990 to 2005. The question is, how do we regain the momentum? It won’t be easy and, as a global problem, it will require a shared effort between the developing countries themselves, the advanced economies, and the international organizations.