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.
We use bank level data to study the efficiency of banks in Sub-Saharan African middle-income countries and provide possible explanations for the difference in the efficiency levels of banks. We find that banks, on average, could save 20-30 percent of their total costs if they were operating efficiently, and that foreign banks are more efficient than public banks and domestic private banks. Among the factors that could affect the efficiency levels are macroeconomic stability, depth of financial development, the degree of market competition, strong legal rights and contract laws, and better governance, including political stability and government effectiveness. Our findings point to the importance of policies that aim to build stronger institutions, promote more competition, and improve governance.