This Selected Issues paper focuses on the prospects of growth in São Tomé and Príncipe (STP). This case study seeks explanations for STP’s relative under-performance and draws lessons for the future. It compares past economic developments in the islands and recommends policies that could most effectively foster future growth in STP. Country-specific characteristics as well as weak institutions contributed to STP’s relative underperformance since independence. Initial conditions, particularly regarding human capital and natural resources, contributed to STP’s relative underperformance, especially in the first decade after independence. Experience in the four island-states suggests that fiscal discipline, revenue mobilization, and a more active private sector, particularly in the tourism sector, may be key to tap STP’s growth potential. Fiscal discipline is needed to contain the fiscal deficit and bring the debt to a sustainable level. Continuing to strengthen public financial management, including implementing multiannual fiscal framework as recommended by the IMF technical assistance, would help.
Arnold McIntyre, Mike Xin Li, Ke Wang, and Hanlei Yun
The paper considers concepts of economic diversification with respect to exports (including service sectors) for small states. We assessed the economic performance of different groups of 34 small states over the period of 1990-2015 and found those more diversified experienced lower output volatility and higher average growth than most other small states. Our findings are consistent with conventional economic theories but we found that export diversification has a more significant impact on reducing output volatility than improving long run growth in small states. Diversification requires fundamental changes and should be contemplated in the context of a cohesive development strategy.
This book describes the reforms needed to move small middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa to advanced-economy status. The result of intense discussions with public officials in the countries covered, the book blends rigorous theory, econometrics, and practitioners' insights to come up with practical recommendations for policymakers. It spans topics from macroeconomic vulnerability and reserve adequacy to labor market institutions and financial inclusion. The book is a must-read for researchers interested in the economic issues facing developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Mauricio Soto, Mr. Vimal V Thakoor, and Mr. Martin Petri
Despite important past reforms, the ageing population of Mauritius threatens the sustainability of its pension system. This paper examines how pension spending might increase without reforms and discusses reforms options. The findings suggest that unifying the retirement age and indexing it to life expectancy would contribute most significantly to secure and sustainable pensions. The poverty reducing objective of the universal pension can be improved by better targeting. The old age protection objective of the National Pension Fund could be strengthened by increasing contribution and replacement rates. Implementing changes faster should result in less drastic future changes and fairer outcomes.
This report on the observance of Standards and Codes—Data Module provides an assessment of Mauritius’s macroeconomic statistics against the Special Data Dissemination Standard complemented by an assessment of data quality based on the IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework July 2003. The assessment reveals that the quality of the macroeconomic statistics in Mauritius has improved significantly since the previous assessment conducted in 2001. Quarterly national accounts were successfully put in place. Work is well advanced to implement the new international methodology for government finance statistics.
This paper analyzes whether uniform tariffs give rise to the highest welfare compared with tariffs that either escalate or de-escalate along the value chain of production. We show that countries may be better off with de-escalating tariffs where tariff rates are higher on intermediate inputs and lower on final goods. The key point is that higher tariffs can encourage agglomeration of intermediate input suppliers and final goods producers in one country. With high tariffs on intermediate inputs, the benefits of close proximity to final goods producers may outweigh the benefits of locating according to comparative advantage, which is more likely when the share of intermediate inputs in producing final goods is high. De-escalating tariffs yield the highest welfare when the benefits of agglomeration are very high. These benefits of agglomeration accrue to both countries in the form of lower prices.
Mr. Joachim Harnack, Mr. Sérgio Pereira. Leite, Ms. Stefania Fabrizio, Ms. Luisa Zanforlin, Mr. Girma Begashaw, and Mr. Anthony J. Pellechio
This chapter explores the key relationships between participatory democracy and successful economic development and reviews the early steps of participatory decision making in Ghana. More generally, it sets the stage for a discussion of Ghana's main achievements and failures since 1992 in raising the standard of living of its population and reducing poverty. The high-profile political process that launched constitutional democracy in the 1990s and generated Ghana—Vision 2020 placed poverty reduction at the center of economic policy. Based on a set of price and unit labor cost indicators, Ghana's competitiveness improved in the early 1990s through 1994. The evidence for 1995–98 is quite strong. The Bank of Ghana is suspected to have used administrative means and moral suasion to influence the exchange rate, resisting the cedi's depreciation. The terms-of-trade shock forced the Bank of Ghana to focus more clearly on maintaining adequate foreign reserves. The depreciation may then have helped make the foreign exchange market more active and the nominal exchange rate more representative of market conditions.