The International Monetary Fund organised a seminar on Commodity Price Volatility and Inclusive Growth in Low-Income Countries to facilitate an important discussion of the socio-economic challenges posed by commodity price volatility, and of policies for growth that can benefit all citizens in LICs.

The seminar took place at the IMF’s Headquarters in Washington, DC on 21 September, 2011.

Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, IMF | Opening Remarks

Despite encouraging economic performance, low-income countries are confronted with enormous challenges ahead, not least making growth beneficial to all.

Three years after the onset of the global financial crisis, low-income countries (LICs) have registered strong economic growth, especially those that have benefited from high commodity prices. But many LICs are facing difficulties because of rapidly rising food and fuel prices—and the pain is being felt most acutely by the most vulnerable members of society. Higher growth in LICs has often been seen as the only way out of poverty. Experience shows, however, that higher growth episodes in LICs do not necessarily lead to lower poverty, sometimes it results in greater poverty.

Session I. Commodity Price Volatility: Challenges

Josette Sheeran, United Nations World Food Programme
Shanta Devarajan, World Bank
Hugh Bredenkamp, IMF
Michael Ross, Department of Political Science, UCLA
Luis Arce Catacora, Minister of Economy and Public Finance, Bolivia
Sid’Ahmed Ould Raiss, Governor, Central Bank of Mauritania

Session II. macro-policy options for LICs

Leslie Lipschitz, IMF
Eswar Prasad, Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
Klaus Schmidt-Hebbel, Institute of Economics, Catholic University of Chile
Paul Collier, Centre for the Study of African Economies, Oxford University
Kwabena Duffour, Minister of Finance, and Economic Planning, Ghana
Matata Ponyo Mapon, Minister of Finance, Democratic Republic of Congo 

Session III.  Structural Policies in LICs

Antoinette Sayeh, IMF
Abhijit Banerjee, Department of Economics, MIT
Francois Bourguignon, Paris School of Economics
Changyong Rhee, Asian Development Bank
Charles Castel, Bank of Republic of Haiti
Atiur Rahman, Governor, Bangladesh Bank

How to Achieve Inclusive Growth in Low-income Countries?

Yvonne Ndege, Al Jazeera English
George Akerlof, Senior Resident Scholar, IMF and Koshland Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley
Nancy Birdsall, President, Center for Global Development, United States
Mustapha Nabli, Governor, Central Bank of Tunisia, Tunisia
Ray Offenheiser, President, Oxfam America, United States
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Finance Minister, Nigeria
Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director, International Monetary Fund