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 study introduces an index for measuring financial development and a set of six indices representing key characteristics of the financial systems in 38 sub-Saharan African countries. The results show that these countries have made good progress in improving and modernizing their financial systems during the last decade, particularly with regard to financial liberalization and the adoption of indirect instruments of monetary policy. In many countries, however, the range of financial products remains extremely limited, interest rate spreads are wide, capital adequacy ratios are insufficient, judicial loan recovery is a problem, and the share of nonperforming loans is large.