Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Wenjie Chen, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Mr. Herve Joly, and Mr. Fan Yang
This paper assesses the extent of economic and financial integration among the East African Community (EAC) along a number of dimensions and, where possible, whether integration has increased in the wake of the major regional integration policy milestones.
Mr. Paolo Mauro, Mr. Herve Joly, Mr. Ari Aisen, Mr. Emre Alper, Mr. Francois Boutin-Dufresne, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Mr. Nikoloz Gigineishvili, Mr. Tom Josephs, Ms. Clara Mira, Mr. Vimal V Thakoor, Mr. Alun H. Thomas, and Mr. Fan Yang
This paper takes stock of the main fiscal risks facing the EAC partner countries. These include macroeconomic shocks, and specific risks, such as the financial performance of the public enterprises, large infrastructure projects, PPPs, and pension funds. In addition, weaknesses in the institutional framework are reviewed. This analysis highlights some of the largest risks and begins to give a sense of the potential magnitudes involved.
Mr. Paulo Drummond, Mr. Ari Aisen, Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Ejona Fuli, and Mr. Sébastien Walker
This paper examines how susceptible East African Community (EAC) economies are to asymmetric shocks, assesses the value of the exchange rate as a shock absorber for these countries, and reviews adjustment mechanisms that would help ensure a successful experience under a common currency. The report draws on analysis of recent experiences and examines likely future changes in the EAC economies.
Mr. Paulo Drummond, Mr. S. K Wajid, and Mr. Oral Williams
The countries in the East African Community (EAC) are among the fastest growing economies in sub-Saharan Africa. The EAC countries are making significant progress toward financial integration, including harmonization of supervisory arrangements and practices and the modernization of monetary policy frameworks. This book focuses on regional integration in the EAC and argues that the establishment of a time table for the eliminating the sensitive-products list and establishing a supranational legal framework for resolving trade disputes are important reforms that should foster regional integration.
Ms. Catherine McAuliffe, Ms. Sweta Chaman Saxena, and Mr. Masafumi Yabara
The East African Community (EAC) has been among the fastest growing regions in sub-Saharan Africa in the past decade or so. Nonetheless, the recent growth path will not be enough to achieve middle-income status and substantial poverty reduction by the end of the decade—the ambition of most countries in the region. This paper builds on methodologies established in the growth literature to identify a group of countries that achieved growth accelerations and sustained growth to use as benchmarks to evaluate the prospects, and potential constraints, for EAC countries to translate their recent growth upturn into sustained high growth. We find that EAC countries compare favorably to the group of sustained growth countries—macroeconomic and government stability, favorable business climate, and strong institutions—but important differences remain. EAC countries have a smaller share of exports, lower degree of financial deepening, lower levels of domestic savings, higher reliance on donor aid, and limited physical infrastructure and human capital. Policy choices to address some of these shortcomings could make a difference in whether the EAC follows the path of sustained growth or follows other countries where growth upturns later fizzled out.
This paper seeks to quantify existing financial barriers among East African Community (EAC) member countries based on analysis of each member country’s foreign exchange market. The primary contribution of this paper is the generation of an aggregate measure of financial barriers for the three relatively more advanced members (Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania) using forward foreign exchange and interbank interest rate data. Its empirical results, which are corroborated by other evidence such as the levels of development of the financial markets and restrictions on capital flows, suggest that Kenya is the EAC’s most financially open country, followed by Uganda, and then Tanzania. The fact that the three countries exhibit different degrees of financial openness suggests that financial integration in the EAC region has a way to go.
The concomitant external shocks experienced in 2008-09 by the East African Community (EAC) countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda and stepped-up support by the IMF—including the SDR allocation—and other donors, are likely to arouse renewed interest in the question of the adequate level of international reserves. This paper discusses the evolution of reserve holdings in EAC countries and uses several tools for assessing reserve adequacy in the region. The analysis suggests that reserve levels in most cases seem to include safety buffers, and thus, do not require immediate action. However, the situation could become tighter if export recovery is delayed or export prices do not pick up. Over the medium term, the desirable reserve path should also be adapted to regional and international integration.
The Selected Issues paper for Uganda and Rwanda discusses the impact of rising international food and fuel prices on inflation. Unlike in the case of fuel-producing countries, the East African Community countries are major agricultural producers, with agriculture accounting for 20 percent to 40 percent of their GDP. The two most important factors limiting the pass-through of world food commodities are therefore the high degree of self-sufficiency in the production of main tradable food commodities and their relative insulation from international markets.
In a case study of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, this paper finds that bilateral real exchange rates revert to a long-term equilibrium in line with purchasing power parities, implying that these countries constitute an integrated trading zone, their markets are interdependent and arbitrage works efficiently, and intraregional competitiveness is preserved. These findings are partly explained by the flexibility of nominal exchange rates and prices and the absence of long-term productivity differences among these countries. To strengthen market integration, foster private sector development, and enhance growth prospects, the paper emphasizes the importance of increased trade, competitive labor markets, flexible exchange rates, and convergence of macroeconomic and structural policies.
Ms. Hema R. De Zoysa, Mr. Robert L. Sharer, and Mr. Calvin A McDonald
This paper explores not only the recent adjustment efforts but also the prospects for Uganda in the medium term. It provides an overview of recent economic performance with respect to growth, saving, and investment, and provides an analysis of Uganda's external adjustment efforts. The paper surveys fiscal adjustment and the prospects for a sustainable fiscal position, public enterprise reform, and army demobilization.