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Hites Ahir, Hendre Garbers, Mattia Coppo, Mr. Giovanni Melina, Mr. Futoshi Narita, Ms. Filiz D Unsal, Vivian Malta, Xin Tang, Daniel Gurara, Luis-Felipe Zanna, Linda G. Venable, Mr. Kangni R Kpodar, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
Despite strong economic growth since 2000, many low-income countries (LICs) still face numerous macroeconomic challenges, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the deceleration in real GDP growth during the 2008 global financial crisis, LICs on average saw 4.5 percent of real GDP growth during 2000 to 2014, making progress in economic convergence toward higher-income countries. However, the commodity price collapse in 2014–15 hit many commodity-exporting LICs and highlighted their vulnerabilities due to the limited extent of economic diversification. Furthermore, LICs are currently facing a crisis like no other—COVID-19, which requires careful policymaking to save lives and livelihoods in LICs, informed by policy debate and thoughtful research tailored to the COVID-19 situation. There are also other challenges beyond COVID-19, such as climate change, high levels of public debt burdens, and persistent structural issues.
Mr. Niko A Hobdari, Vina Nguyen, Mr. Salvatore Dell'Erba, and Mr. Edgardo Ruggiero
Fiscal decentralization is becoming a pressing issue in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting demands for a greater local voice in spending decisions and efforts to strengthen social cohesion. Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to distill the lessons for an effective fiscal decentralization reform, focusing on the macroeconomic aspects. The main findings for sub-Saharan African countries that have decentralized, based on an empirical analysis and four case studies (Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda), are as follows: • Determinants and effectiveness: Empirical results suggest that (1) the major driving forces behind fiscal decentralization in sub-Saharan Africa include efforts to defuse ethnic conflicts, the initial level of income, and the urban-ization rate, whereas strength of democracy is not an important determi-nant for decentralization; and (2) decentralization in sub-Saharan Africa is associated with higher growth in the presence of stronger institutions. • Spending assignments: The allocation of spending across levels of gov-ernment in the four case studies is broadly consistent with best practice. However, in Uganda, unlike in the other three case studies, subnational governments have little flexibility to make spending decisions as a result of a deconcentrated rather than a devolved system of government. • Own revenue: The assignment of taxing powers is broadly in line with best practice in the four case studies, with the bulk of subnational revenue coming from property taxes and from fees for local services. However, own revenues are a very small fraction of subnational spending, reflecting weak cadaster systems and a high level of informality in the economy.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

The region is seeing a modest growth uptick, but this is not uniform and the medium-term outlook remains subdued. Growth is projected to rise to 3? percent in 2018, from 2? percent in 2017, on the back of improved global growth, higher commodity prices, and continued strong public spending. About ¾ of the countries in the region are predicted to experience faster growth. Beyond 2018, growth is expected to plateau below 4 percent, modestly above population growth, reflecting continued sluggishness in the oil-exporting countries and sustained growth in non-resource-intensive countries. A number of countries (Burundi, DRC, South Sudan, and parts of the Sahel) remain locked in internal conflict resulting in record levels of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, with adverse spillovers to neighboring countries.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

The region is seeing a modest growth uptick, but this is not uniform and the medium-term outlook remains subdued. Growth is projected to rise to 3.4 percent in 2018, from 2.8 percent in 2017, on the back of improved global growth, higher commodity prices, and continued strong public spending. About ¾ of the countries in the region are predicted to experience faster growth. Beyond 2018, growth is expected to plateau below 4 percent, modestly above population growth, reflecting continued sluggishness in the oil-exporting countries and sustained growth in non-resource-intensive countries. A number of countries (Burundi, DRC, South Sudan, and parts of the Sahel) remain locked in internal conflict resulting in record levels of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, with adverse spillovers to neighboring countries.

International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
"This paper is the fourth in a series that examines macroeconomic developments and prospects in Low Income Developing Countries (LIDCs). LIDCs are Fund member countries where gross national income (GNI) per capita lies below a threshold level and where external financial linkages and socioeconomic indicators have not lifted them into emerging market status. There are 59 countries in the LIDC grouping, accounting for about one-fifth of the world’s population and 4 percent of global output. The paper examines macroeconomic trends across LIDCs in recent years, contrasting key features of the current situation with the period prior to the 2014 decline in commodity prices. Particular attention is given to the evolution of fiscal positions and public debt levels, including detailed analysis of the drivers of debt accumulation and the current severity of debt vulnerabilities. The analysis is grounded in, and draws on, the analysis and databases used to compile the World Economic Outlook: this report drills down into the WEO database to look in detail at the experience of LIDCs."
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that the Nigerian economy is exiting recession but remains vulnerable. New foreign exchange measures, rising oil prices, attractive yields on government securities, and a tighter monetary policy have contributed to better foreign exchange availability, increased reserves to a four-year high, and contained inflationary pressures. Economic growth reached 0.8 percent in 2017, driven mainly by recovering oil production. Inflation declined to 15.4 percent year-over-year by end-December, from 18.5 percent at end-2016. Higher oil prices are supporting the near-term projections, but medium-term projections indicate that growth would remain relatively flat, with continuing declines in per capita real GDP under unchanged policies.