International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
This note provides operational guidance to staff on how to engage on social safeguard issues with low-income countries in both program and surveillance contexts. The note is not intended as a comprehensive guide, and should be used in conjunction with other operational guidance notes, such as those relating to conditionality and surveillance.
Karim Barhoumi, Ha Vu, Shirin Nikaein Towfighian, and Mr. Rodolfo Maino
There is significant room to improve public investment efficiency in
sub-Saharan Africa. Investment in sub-Saharan African countries is lagging vis-à-vis peers such as emerging and developing Asia as well as Latin America and the Caribbean, and the region’s infrastructure is perceived as being of relatively low quality. Improving the efficiency of sizable investment programs in the region could contribute to more solid economic growth and help achieve desired social priorities and development goals.
Results point to some variability in public investment efficiency within the region. Comparing efficiency scores across country groups suggests that investment efficiency in sub-Saharan African oil exporters tends to be lower than in sub-Saharan African non-resource-intensive countries. Additionally, countries in East African Community (EAC) perform better than those in Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).
Stronger institutions could foster more efficient public investment. The regression results in this paper show a positive correlation between public investment efficiency and the quality of institutions, suggesting that devel-oping stronger institutions in sub-Saharan Africa could lead to a significant improvement in investment efficiency. This is particularly relevant for coun-tries with weak institutional quality, where governments may use capital spending as a vehicle for rent-seeking, leading to inefficient spending. Given the current drive for scaling up investment in sub-Saharan Africa, the task of improving institutions quickly should become a priority.
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.
Growth momentum in sub-Saharan Africa remains fragile, marking a break from the rapid expansion witnessed since the turn of the millennium. 2016 was a difficult year for many countries, with regional growth dipping to 1.4 percent—the lowest level of growth in more than two decades. Most oil exporters were in recession, and conditions in other resource-intensive countries remained difficult. Other nonresource-intensive countries however, continued to grow robustly. A modest recovery in growth of about 2.6 percent is expected in 2017, but this falls short of past trends and is too low to put sub-Saharan Africa back on a path of rising living standards. While sub-Saharan Africa remains a region with tremendous growth potential, the deterioration in the overall outlook partly reflects insufficient policy adjustment. In that context, and to reap this potential, strong and sound domestic policy measures are needed to restart the growth engine.
The objective of the joint Bank-Fund debt sustainability framework for low-income countries is to support LICs in their efforts to achieve their development goals without creating future debt problems. Countries that have received debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI) need to be kept on a sustainable track. Under the framework, country DSAs are prepared jointly by Bank and Fund staff, with close collaboration between the two staffs on the design of the macroeconomic baseline, alternative scenarios, the debt distress rating, and the drafting of the write-up
This Selected Issues paper for the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe (STP) underlies the recent upward trend in inflation that was heavily influenced by external factors. The policy mix to achieve price stability requires effective control of money supply and fiscal restraint. As in other developing countries, operational targets for monetary policy need to be considered, taking into account STP’s specific circumstances. Weak financial intermediation limits the effectiveness of some monetary instruments such as short-term interest rates.
This report updates the macroeconomic assessment of the impact of global food and fuel price increases provided in the IMF June 2008 Board paper: Food and Fuel Prices—Recent Developments, Macroeconomic Impact, and Policy Response. Food and oil prices peaked in early summer—in particular, oil prices surged to levels envisaged under the most adverse scenario presented in the June paper. Against this background, the effects of higher prices on the balance of payments, budgets, and domestic prices intensified and a large group of low- and middle-income countries is experiencing a substantial weakening of their balance of payments and higher inflation. These findings reinforce the importance of adopting appropriate policies to maintain macroeconomic stability while protecting the poor.
This paper examines, in a formal econometric framework, the linkages between public financial management and fiscal outcomes in sub-Saharan African countries. Similar analyses have been done for Latin America, Europe, and the United States, but none in the context of low-income countries. Using public financial management indicators, as measured in two recent assessments related to the Heavily-Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, this study shows that improving public financial management leads to better fiscal outcomes, as measured by the overall fiscal balance and external debt levels, after controlling for other characteristics that might alter fiscal outcomes.
The second Annual Progress Report (APR) evaluates progress of Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) implementation aimed to promote growth and reduce poverty of São Tomé and Príncipe. The report recognizes the need to tighten fiscal and monetary policies to safeguard macroeconomic stability, emphasize on strengthened implementation of public financial management reforms, and achieve MDGs, particularly in health and education. It also stressed the need to review oil prospects in future reports. The APR emphasizes on the importance of debt relief, strong policy implementation, and greater coordination with the country’s development partners.