The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This paper examines interest rate spreads in English-speaking African countries. Higher spreads were found to be associated with lower inflation, a greater number of banks, and greater public ownership of banks. Higher deposit interest rates were found to be associated with lower interest rate spreads, but higher net interest margins. A large increase in spreads in the late 1980s and 1990s may be explained by a strengthening of financial sector supervision. Limited data suggested that poor governance, weak regulatory frameworks and property rights, and higher required reserve ratios are associated with higher spreads.