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 analyzes the tradeoffs between savings, debt and public investment in the Republic of Congo, a developing country with looming oil exhaustibility concerns. Our results highlight the risks to fiscal and capital sustainability of oil exporting countries from large scaling-up in public investment and oil price volatility in view of a projected decline in the oil revenue to GDP ratio. However, structural reforms that improve the efficiency of public investment can allow for a relatively faster buildup of sustainable public capital and sustain higher non-oil growth without adversely affecting the debt ratio or savings. Moreover, we show that even if a government pursues prudent fiscal policy that preserves resource wealth and debt sustainability in the face of exhaustible and volatile resource revenues, low public investment quality in the form of a misallocation of resources can hinder attainment of sustainable public capital and positive non-oil growth.