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Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2001

Financing for Development

image of Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2001

Following the impressive recovery in 1999, the economic performance of the ESCAP region strengthened further in 2000 in an environment of low inflation. Prospects for 2001 are mixed. This year's issue of the survey reviews the economic progress in the ESCAP region over the past year and analyzes population dynamics and their related policy implications. It also provides a regional perspective on the subject of 'Financing for Development' looking at such issues as: domestic and external resources; trends in and current distribution of Official Development Assistance; and reform of the international financial architecture.

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Introduction

The topic of financing for development has engaged the attention of policy makers and development economists for several decades. However, the importance of this topic being considered at the regional and international levels has acquired new urgency. For most of the 1980s and early 1990s, the approach of the international community to development was dominated by what came to be known as the Washington Consensus, the elements of which incorporated an emphasis on domestic resource mobilization through fiscal restraint and tax reform. The content of tax reform was to be influenced by the move towards creating a market-friendly policy regime. The reduction of income, corporate and trade-related taxes and a greater reliance on domestic value-added taxes were the major planks of this strategy. Another major element was the liberalization of the domestic financial sector involving, inter alia, the deregulation of interest rates, the elimination of directed credit and freedom of entry into the financial sector for both domestic and foreign private investors. To meet import-financing needs, developing countries were to rely on exports and access to foreign private capital as the primary instruments.

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