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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

Fintech in Sub-Saharan Africa: A Potential Game Changer

By Amadou N. R. Sy If you are reading this blog—drawn by current buzz around financial technology and the "fintech” reference in the title, and its promise to democratize financial services—then it is probably a safe bet to assume that you have heard of M-Pesa. This mobile payments system started in Kenya in 2007 now boasts 30 million users in 10 countries, with other competitors, such as MTN Money and Orange Money, also operating around the continent. The use of mobile money has grown...

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Let Bank Supervisors Do Their Jobs

By Tobias Adrian and Aditya Narain Healthy banking sector. Healthy economy. So goes the thinking. Banks play a vital role in economic life—whether for individual consumers, or more broadly across an entire economy—and a strong and stable banking system is a matter of public concern. As part of their work, supervisors identify potential weak points in the system and take prompt corrective action. They need the freedom and flexibility to carry this out. The world learned this lesson all too...

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Chart of the WeekChina’s Digital Dividend

By Longmei Zhang and Sally Chen Digitalization has created millions of new jobs in China, accounting for between one-third and one-half of employment growth in the world’s second-largest economy. Our Chart of the Week shows employment in two sectors: information and communications technology (ICT) and retailing. ICT added 14 million new jobs for high-skilled workers in the five years through 2016, and the average wage doubled. But ICT is just one part of a much larger picture. E-commerce...

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Cashing In: How to Make Negative Interest Rates Work

By Ruchir Agarwal and Signe Krogstrup Many central banks reduced policy interest rates to zero during the global financial crisis to boost growth. Ten years later, interest rates remain low in most countries. While the global economy has been recovering, future downturns are inevitable. Severe recessions have historically required 3–6 percentage points cut in policy rates. If another crisis happens, few countries would have that kind of room for monetary policy to respond. To get around...

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Chart of the WeekMind the Gap in SDG Financing

by IMFBlog Progress in achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs) hinges on countries’ ability to scale up spending in important areas like health, education and infrastructure. A new IMF staff study shows that the required scale-up varies widely across countries. For emerging market economies, the average additional annual spending required in 2030 to reach key SDGs stands at 4 percentage points of GDP, compared to 15 percentage points of GDP for the average low-income developing...

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Latin America and the Caribbean in 2019: A Moderate Expansion

By Alejandro Werner Español, Português Economic activity in Latin America continues to rise, but at a slower rate than previously anticipated. The weakening global economy and rising policy uncertainty are contributing to slowing Latin America’s growth momentum. Overall, the region is expected to advance by 2 percent in 2019 and 2.5 percent in 2020—still well below peer countries in other regions. A tightening of global financial conditions and lower commodity prices brought on by...

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Unlimited Opportunities: Creating More Jobs for Young People in Emerging Market and Developing Economies

By Christine Lagarde and John Bluedorn عربي, Español,Français, Português, Русский “To define is to limit,” Oscar Wilde once said. But sometimes economists need to use definitions to see the scope of a problem and find ways to lift the limits to success. This is especially true for young people in emerging markets and developing economies. We know that young people are essential to economic development and growth. They make up approximately one-third of the working-age population in the...

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A Weakening Global Expansion Amid Growing Risks

By Gita Gopinath عربي, 中文, Español, Français, 日本語, Português, Русский While global growth in 2018 remained close to postcrisis highs, the global expansion is weakening and at a rate that is somewhat faster than expected. This update of the World Economic Outlook (WEO) projects global growth at 3.5 percent in 2019 and 3.6 percent in 2020, 0.2 and 0.1 percentage point below last October’s projections. The downward revisions are modest; however, we believe the risks to more significant...

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Three Steps to Avert a Debt Crisis

By Martin Mühleisen and Mark Flanagan 日本語 There has been much public discussion of the debt sustainability of a handful of high-risk countries. However, the burden of public debt is a growing problem across the globe. In advanced countries, public debt is at levels not seen since the Second World War, despite some declines recently. Emerging market public debt has accumulated to levels last seen during the 1980s debt crisis. And forty percent of low-income countries—that is, 24 of 60...

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Building Defenses Against the Next Economic Downturn

By David Lipton عربي, Français,  日本語, Русский The global economy faces a number of complex challenges from technological change and globalization, and the lingering effects of the 2008-9 financial crisis. At the same time, we are witnessing lower levels of trust in the core institutions that have helped to deliver tremendous growth and prosperity over the past 40 years. These developments threaten to fragment the international order that has governed the global economy. History suggests...

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