The growth literature has had problems explaining the "sub-Saharan African growth dummy" in cross-country regressions. Instead of taking the usual approach of focusing on long-run growth and assuming that sub-Saharan countries have homogenous parameters in growth regressions, we concentrate our analysis on episodes of growth turnarounds (identifying growth accelerations, decelerations, and collapses) and use only West African countries in our sample. The driving force of growth turnarounds are estimated by analyzing external shocks, political and institutional changes, economic reforms, and indicators particularly relevant to the region. Using probits for a group of 22 Western African economies for the period 1960-2006, we find that growth accelerations are most clearly associated with external shocks, economic liberalization, political stability, and closeness to the coast; decelerations occurred during short-lived regimes and when corruption indices weakened; and collapses are linked to external shocks, falling domestic credit, and proximity to the coast. We then identify policy implications.
This paper assesses the link between public investment and economic growth in Burkina Faso. It also evaluates Burkina Faso's external competitiveness by using a comparison of REER to its equilibrium levels and a survey-based assessment of overall competitiveness. The report attempts to quantify the impact of rainfall and terms-of-trade shocks on the Burkinabe economy and draws policy measures to lessen external shocks. The report assesses that industrial mining has become a source of foreign exchange and government revenue, which requires transparent management and accountability.
Ms. Anne Marie Gulde and Mr. Charalambos G Tsangarides
About one-third of countries covered by the IMF's African Department are members of the CFA franc zone. With most other countries moving away from fixed exchange rates, the issue of an adequate policy framework to ensure the sustainability of the CFA franc zone is clearly of interest to policymakers and academics. However, little academic research exists in the public domain. This book aims to fill this void by bringing together work undertaken in the context of intensified regional surveillance and highlighting the current challenges and the main policy requirements if the arrangements are to be carried forward. The book is based on empirical research by a broad group of IMF economists, with contributions from several outside experts.
Foreign aid flows to poor, aid-dependent economies are highly volatile and pro-cyclical. Shortfalls in aid coincide with shortfalls in GDP and government revenues. This increases the consumption volatility in aid dependent countries, thereby causing substantial welfare losses. This paper finds that indexing aid flows to exogenous shocks like a change in the terms of trade can significantly improve the welfare of aid-dependent country by lowering its output and consumption volatility. Compared to the benchmark specification with stochastic aid flows, indexation of aid flows to terms of trade shocks can reduce the cost of business cycle fluctuations in the recipient country by four percent of permanent consumption. Moreover, use of indexed aid can allow donors to reduce the aid flows by three percent without lowering the level of welfare in the recipient country.
Mr. Magnus Saxegaard, Stéphane Roudet, and Mr. Charalambos G Tsangarides
Using the FEER approach we investigate the long-run equilibrium paths of the real effective exchange rates (REERs) of countries in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). In an attempt to address econometric estimation uncertainty, we employ both single-country (Johansen and ARDL) and panel-data (FMOLS and PMG) cointegration techniques. We find that (i) much of the long-run behavior of REERs in WAEMU countries can be explained by fluctuations in terms of trade, government consumption, investment, and productivity; (ii) the use of different econometric techniques suggests that there is significant uncertainty about the path of the underlying equilibrium REERs and the degree of exchange rate misalignment, which underscores the need for robustness analyses in exchange rate modeling; and (iii) results from panel-data cointegration may sometimes be useful, but should always be complemented with single-country estimations to ensure that the results take into account country-specific characteristics.
This paper reviews the experience of fiscal adjustment undertaken in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries since the entry into force of the 1994 treaty establishing the framework for a regional convergence of national fiscal policies. We propose a measure of the structural deficit that corrects for movements of both the business cycle and terms of trade. Though the fiscal deficit worsened in 1998-2001 in some countries because of terms of trade deterioration and unfavorable movements in the business cycle, convergence stalled even when corrected for these factors. Meeting fiscal deficit targets in the future will be facilitated by a favorable external environment but, in any case, will require a higher revenue ratio and downward pressure on government wages as shares of GDP.
The three-year arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) that was approved by the Executive Board of the IMF in March 1998 in support of Cote d'lvoire's adjustment efforts went off track after the first year. In the cocoa and coffee sectors, the measures that were supposed to accompany the liberalization process, such as the strengthening of producer organizations and the rehabilitation of rural infrastructure, were not fully implemented. Executive Directors welcomed the conclusion of discussions on a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP).
This chapter evaluates whether a monetary union makes economic sense and discusses the institutional requirements for a successful Monetary Union in West Africa (ECOWAS). The chapter considers how best the political momentum for a union can be channeled toward a fundamental improvement in underlying policies. The paper also reviews the economic situation of the ECOWAS members, with the objective of evaluating the ease with which they can proceed to a common currency. Regional integration resulting in greater trade among ECOWAS countries may help increase efficiency of production. Trade among developing countries, in general, is likely to have fewer efficiency benefits than trade with developed countries, however, because the possibilities of exploiting complementarities are less. The foregoing considerations suggest that the momentum in favor of monetary union should be channelled into the crucial first phase of enhanced mutual surveillance and emphasis on each country improving its macroeconomic and structural policies. Success in this endeavor would in and of itself help to increase exchange rate stability.
Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura, E. Murat Ucer, Mr. Martin Mühleisen, Mr. Michael T. Hadjimichael, and Mr. Roger Nord
The analysis of this paper indicates that the unsatisfactory overall economic performance of sub-Saharan African countries during 1986–93 was due to inappropriate policies pursued by a number of countries. The countries that have pursued broadly appropriate adjustment policies have performed much better, achieving positive per capita GDP growth. The analysis is supported with an econometric investigation of the effects of macroeconomic policies, structural reforms, and exogenous factors on economic performance. The results indicate that progress in achieving macroeconomic stability and implementing structural reforms have been conducive to better growth, savings, and private investment.
This paper investigates the relationship between fiscal performance in 28 sub-Saharan African countries over the 1980-91 period with movements in the exchange rates, the terms of trade, and other macroeconomic aggregates. It finds that the tax base in most of these countries is heavily dependent on imports and import substitutes. Consequently, an overvaluation of the exchange rate in countries which adopted a fixed exchange rate strategy undermines the tax base and results in a widening of the fiscal deficit when the purpose of the strategy is to restore the real exchange rate to its equilibrium through fiscal contraction. Those countries which pursued a variable exchange rate strategy failed in attaining price stability, but exchange rate adjustment was critical in contributing to other macroeconomic objectives, particularly fiscal balance, competitiveness, and growth.