In response to a request from the authorities and as part of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) Enhanced Data Dissemination Initiative (EDDI) 2 project, a Government Finance Statistics (GFS) mission visited Lusaka, Zambia, during November 19–30, 2018. This was the third mission to Zambia under the DFID EDDI2 project, following the March 2016 and November 2017 missions. The mission worked essentially with staff at the Zambia Central Statistical Office (CSO) Public Finance Unit (PFU), but also had meetings with staff from the Ministry of Finance’s Accountant General, Budget, Investment and Debt Management, and Economic Management departments.
A technical assistance mission was undertaken by the Real Sector Statistics Advisor in the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre to Saint Lucia to provide advice to the Central Statistics Office (CSO) on compiling rebased gross domestic product estimates. The CSO is responding to the needs of the Ministry of Finance for more robust and timely national accounts statistics. All the Gross domestic product by economic activity (GDP-P) compilation workbooks have now been redeveloped and revised current and constant 2018 price quarterly and annual estimates have been compiled up to Q3 2019. The incorporation of revised data on tourist expenditure for 2000 onward have also resulted in revisions to the GDP-P current rice estimates and real growth rates. The revised annual and quarterly GDP-P estimates were assessed, and several methodological improvements were implemented. Improvements were made to the constant price estimates by reviewing and replacing weaker volume indicators. Training on the methodological changes and compiling the rebased estimates has been provided. The training on methodological improvements included the use of the more representative employment indicators and various price indices discussed above; back-casting and linking techniques for the current price estimates and linking the constant 2006 price series with the constant 2018 price series.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Kingdom of Eswatini highlights that the financial system remains sound, although vulnerabilities are rising. Hence, bank supervision should be intensified, the early intervention regime strengthened, and plans to relax single borrower concentration regulations suspended. The paper explains that the authorities have recently taken some policy actions toward stabilizing the economy. However, reflecting expansionary spending policies and declining Southern African Customs Union revenue, public debt is still rising, domestic arrears have accumulated, and international reserves have fallen below adequate levels. Supply side and governance reforms are needed to support private investment and strengthen competitiveness. Reforms should reduce vulnerabilities to state-capture and other forms of corruption, streamline business regulations and regulatory requirements, reduce high electricity and telecommunications costs, contain wage growth, and address shortages of skilled workers. A credible medium-term fiscal adjustment plan, starting with measures to reduce next year’s fiscal deficit, is needed to bring the economy on a sustainable path. Policies should combine expenditure reductions and revenue increases that enhance long-term growth prospects. Expanding and better targeting cash transfers would help protect the poor.
Tatiana Didier, Sebastian Herrador, and Magali Pinat
This paper assesses whether cross-border M&A decisions exhibit network effects. We estimate exponential random graph models (ERGM) and temporal exponential random graph models (TERGM) to evaluate the determinants of cross-country M&A investments at the sectoral level. The results show that transitivity matters: a country is more likely to invest in a new destination if one of its existing partners has already made some investments there. In line with the literature on export platforms and informational barriers, we find a sizable impact of third country effects on the creation of new investments. This effect is sizable and larger than some of the more traditional M&A determinants, such as trade openness.