The IMF is increasingly emphasizing high-quality growth - that is, growth that is sustainable, that is accompanied by appropriate domestic and external balances, that respects the environment, and that is aided by policies that reduce poverty and foster greater equity. This pamphlet focuses on how the IMF works to reduce poverty and improve equity.
This paper examines the channels through which external debt affects growth in low-income countries. Our results suggest that the substantial reduction in the stock of external debt projected for highly indebted poor countries (HIPCs) would directly increase per capita income growth by about 1 percentage point per annum. Reductions in external debt service could also provide an indirect boost to growth through their effects on public investment. If half of all debt-service relief were channeled for such purposes without increasing the budget deficit, then growth could accelerate in some HIPCs by an additional 0.5 percentage point per annum.
This paper identifies policy tools that could be used for fiscal consolidation in advanced and emerging economies in the years ahead. The consolidation strategy, particularly in advanced countries, should aim to stabilize age-related spending in relation to GDP, reduce non-age-related expenditure ratios, and increase revenues. Bold reforms are needed to offset projected increases in age-related spending, particularly health care. On the revenue side, measures could include improving tax compliance, for example through better international cooperation, as well as increasing the yield from VAT by eliminating exemptions and reduced rates, further developing property taxes, and increasing excise rates within the range of rates already applicable in comparable countries.