- Montfort Mlachila, and Masafumi Yabara
- Published Date:
- September 2013
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This paper was originally prepared for a roundtable event hosted by the Economics Department of the European Investment Bank in Luxembourg on January 23, 2013, and the original version is available at http://www.eib.org/infocentre/publications/all/economic-report-banking-africa.htm. The authors greatly appreciate useful comments by Seán Nolan. The authors are also grateful for research assistance provided by Emily Forrest.
The definition of SSA used here follows that employed in the IMF’s biannual publication, Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa, available at www.imf.org. Most of the data cited excludes South Sudan, now included in SSA, due to lack of data availability.
Twelve-month inflation over the course of 2012 is set to be in single digits in 36 of SSA’s 45 economies, exceeding 20 percent in only one case.
Note that South Africa and Nigeria together account for about one-half of SSA GDP, thus playing a very important role in influencing the evolution of the macroeconomic aggregates for the region as a whole.
For a listing of fragile states, based on the World Bank’s IDA Resource Allocation Index, see IMF (2012c).
Twenty-five of the thirty-four countries now classified as “low income” by the World Bank are in SSA.
For discussion of the reorientation of SSA trade and investment toward nontraditional partners, most notably China, see IMF (2011), chapter 3.
For further discussion of the issue of structural transformation, see IMF (2012c), chapter 3.
For an interesting recent discussion of these challenges, placing emphasis on the importance of policy reforms to improve public service delivery, see Devarajan and Fengler (2012), echoed in World Bank (2012).
The discussion here focuses primarily on banking and financial systems in SSA’s low-income countries. The level of financial sector development is significantly more advanced in a number of middle-income countries in the region—including South Africa, its smaller partner countries in the Southern African Customs Union, and Mauritius.
Other factors contributing to the difficulties faced by several Nigerian banks included fraud and mismanagement, poor internal governance, and weak financial disclosure practices.
The data reported in Figure 12 are of uneven quality; caution is warranted in interpreting trends.
Intensified pressures on Portuguese-domiciled banks could have adverse spillover effects on banking systems in some Lusophone countries. Reliance on domestic funding sources should provide solid protection for most subsidiaries, although supervisors would need to be proactive in tracking developments.
Given space constraints, the brief commentary here is selective rather than comprehensive.
The financial sector assessments jointly undertaken by the IMF and the World Bank under the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) seek to give due attention to both the stability and developmental aspects of financial sector regulation and oversight.