IMF-World Bank Spring Meetings: The Age of Austerity
April 20, 2013
International Monetary Fund Washington DC, District of Columbia, United States
The World Bank Washington DC, District of Columbia, United States
The world has been shaken by outbreaks of civil unrest in response to the combined and lingering effects of high unemployment, worsening living conditions, and eroding confidence in governments. Contrary to public perception, austerity measures are not limited to Europe; in fact, many adjustment measures feature most prominently in developing countries. According to IMF data, 119 countries will be adjusting public expenditures in 2013, increasing to 131 countries in 2014 and the trend will continue at least until 2016.
In the aftermath of the Arab revolutions, countries in the region are facing serious balance of payments problems, mounting external debt, youth unemployment and inflation, and countries such as Egypt are facing record-low foreign exchange reserves. IMF loans and the policy conditions attached to them have the power to deeply impact the Arab peoples aspirations for a truly democratic transition based on social and economic justice.
Some key questions that this panel will try to address are:
Are the fiscal, monetary, tax and investment policies being considered by governments facilitating, or hindering, Arab and other countries in building an inclusive economy and supporting socio-economic recovery?
Will public expenditure for critical social sectors, such as education, health, social protection be safeguarded or slashed?
How is chronic and high unemployment and high food and fuel prices being addressed?
Mahinour El Badrawi, Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights (ECESR), Cairo, Egypt
Kinda Mohamadieh, Arab NGO Network for Development (ANND), Beirut, Lebanon
Manuel Montes, South Centre, Geneva, Switzerland
Isabel Ortiz, Initiative for Policy Dialogue, New York, USA
Chair: Bhumika Muchhala, Third World Network (TWN), Penang, Malaysia