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iMFdirect
iMFdirect features views by IMF economists and officials about pressing issues in the global economy. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF and its Executive Board.

iMFdirect

Sub-Saharan Africa: Diversifying for Tomorrow

By IMFBlog February 16, 2018 Photo: iStock by Getty Images/subman Countries in sub-Saharan Africa need to diversify their economies, and the region’s youth need to be at the heart of it, says Axel Schimmelpfennig. Schimmelpfennig is head of the IMF team for Uganda, and a coauthor of a study that looks at the potential benefits of a stepped-up diversification agenda in sub-Saharan Africa. In this podcast, Schimmelpfennig talks about the need for sub-Saharan Africa to increase...

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Game-Changers and Whistle-Blowers: Taxing Wealth

By James Brumby and Michael Keen February 13, 2018  Versions in 中文 (Chinese), 日本語 (Japanese) New Delhi, India: there are now very few effective explicit wealth taxes in either developing or advanced economies (photo: Jens Kalaene/Corbis). High and rising income inequality is a serious concern in many countries, as highlighted in the IMF’s recent Fiscal Monitor. Wealth, however, is distributed even more unequally than income, as in the picture below. Although Thomas Piketty has...

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Chart of the Week: Crime, Joblessness, and Youth in the Caribbean

By IMFBlog February 12, 2018 Weak growth in the Caribbean reduces economic opportunities for young people, increasing their vulnerability to illegal activities and crime (photo: IMF) Youth unemployment in the Caribbean—among the highest in the world—and crime are key bottlenecks to growth in the region. In our Chart of the Week, we show that the 2008 global financial crisis had an especially strong effect on the unemployment rate for those between the ages of 15 and 24, which jumped...

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The Buzz of Populism and Its Pull on the Economy

By IMFBlog February 9, 2018 (photo: Berkeley Review) If you believe the economy can explain the rise of populism, political scientist Cristóbal Rovira Kaltwasser says it’s a bit more complicated than that. “If you think about populist radical right parties in Western Europe, the party that gets the most votes is in Switzerland. And the economy in Switzerland is running perfectly!” Populism has become a bit of a buzz word of late, and it was the subject of a seminar at the 2018...

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Smartphones Drive New Global Tech Cycle, but Is Demand Peaking?

By Benjamin Carton, Joannes Mongardini, and Yiqun Li February 8, 2018  Demand for smartphones is highly cyclical and related to the release of new models (photo: iStock by GettyImages). Over a decade of spectacular growth, demand for smartphones has created a new global tech cycle that last year produced a new smartphone for every fifth person on earth. This has created a complex and evolving supply chain across Asia, changing the export and growth performance of several countries....

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Chart of the Week: Inequality, Your Health, and Fiscal Policy

By Mercedes García-Escribano, Baoping Shang, and Emmanouil (Manos) Kitsios February 5, 2018   Catania Sicily, Italy.  Men with a lower level of education live shorter lives, on average, than their better educated fellow citizens (photo: Jann Huizenga/Getty Images/IStock). The gap in life expectancy between rich and poor people is a worldwide phenomenon, and has grown dramatically in recent years in some countries.  In our Chart of the Week, we show how this longevity gap, which...

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Countries in the IMF Financial Spotlight in 2018

By IMF Blog January 31, 2018 Financial sector assessments are showing that countries and financial systems are adapting better methods to monitor financial vulnerabilities (photo: Ingram Publishing/Newscom). The IMF in 2018 will complete ten assessments of countries’ financial systems, to identify risks and propose policies to strengthen their financial stability. Three of this year’s reviews will be for countries with Systemically Important Financial Systems : Belgium, Brazil and...

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South Africa’s Lesetja Kganyago: Fintech Is a Central Banker’s Friend

By IMFBlog January 26, 2018  Lesetja Kganyago, South Africa’s Central Bank Governor and Chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (photo: IMF staff). While central bankers are often seen as somewhat traditionalist, South Africa’s Reserve Bank Governor Lesetja Kganyago is breaking that mold. Kganyago sees how new technology—or fintech—is transforming the financial sector, and in this podcast, he says there is no turning back. “Banks will never be the same,” says...

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Latin America and the Caribbean in 2018: An Economic Recovery in the Making

By Alejandro Werner January 25, 2018 Versions in Español (Spanish) and Português (Portuguese) Latin America’s economic recovery is expected to benefit from higher commodity prices (photo: iStock by Getty Images) Recent trends in the world economy and financial markets are good news for Latin America. Global growth and trade are on an upswing, and we expect the momentum to continue in 2018. Stronger commodity prices have also helped the region rebound. Benefiting from these...

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A Dream Deferred: Inequality and Poverty Across Generations in Europe

By Christine Lagarde January 24, 2018 Version in عربي (Arabic  中文  (Chinese),  Español (Spanish),  Français (French) A young apprentice learns a trade in Palmela, Portugal: the right policies can help reduce inequality and poverty across generations in Europe (photo: Tim Brakemeier/DPA/Newscom). The poet Langston Hughes once asked, “What happens to a dream deferred?” It is a relevant question to millions around the world today, especially young people, because of inequality and...

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