This Selected Issues paper reviews West African Economic and Monetary Union’s (WAEMU) regional macroeconomic surveillance framework to control all sources of debt accumulation and ensure debt sustainability. WAEMU’s regional surveillance framework aims at ensuring the sustainability of national fiscal policies and their consistency with the common monetary policy. While fiscal deficits have been the main driver of public debt across WAEMU member countries, the size of residual factors has varied greatly among these countries. The WAEMU Macroeconomic Surveillance Framework would benefit from adjustments to more effectively set the region’s public debt on a sustainable path. In addition, beyond adhering to the WAEMU fiscal deficit rule, member countries must curb below-the-budget-line operations. This would require improved monitoring of fiscal risks and the building of adequate budget provisions to address such risks before they materialize. Improved Treasury practices would also help eliminate the recourse to pre-financing arrangements and tighten control over expenditure. Public dissemination of the WAEMU progress report and strengthened peer-to-peer learning among member countries could improve the momentum for reforms.
We study economic globalization as a multidimensional process and investigate its effect on incomes. In a panel of 147 countries during 1970-2014, we apply a new instrumental variable, exploiting globalization’s geographically diffusive character, and find differential gains from globalization both across and within countries: Income gains are substantial for countries at early and medium stages of the globalization process, but the marginal returns diminish as globalization rises, eventually becoming insignificant. Within countries, these gains are concentrated at the top of national income distributions, resulting in rising inequality. We find that domestic policies can mitigate the adverse distributional effects of globalization.
This paper investigates the determinants of sustained accelerations in goods and services exports. Strong predictors of export takeoffs include domestic and structural indicators such as lower macroeconomic uncertainty, improved quality of institutions, a depreciated exchange rate, and agricultural reforms. Lower tariffs, participation in global value chains and diversification also contribute to initiating export accelerations. The paper also finds heterogeneity, with somewhat different triggers for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as for goods and services. Finally, despite the lack of a robust effect on output, export surges tend to be associated with lower post-acceleration unemployment and income inequality.
The paper examines Senegal’s growth performance from the perspective of its povertyreducing and distributional characteristics, and discusses policies that might help make growth more inclusive. The main findings are that poverty has fallen in the last two decades, but poverty reduction has slowed in recent years. Although available indicators sometimes give conflicting signals on distributional shifts, people in the middle of the income distribution have received the most benefit, mainly in urban areas. Further progress in poverty reduction and inclusiveness would require sustained high growth and exploration of growth opportunities in the sectors with high earning potential for the poor. Better-targeted social policies and more attention to the regional distribution of spending would also help reduce poverty and improve inclusiveness.
Ms. Catherine A Pattillo, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Mr. Kevin J Carey
For policymakers around the world, finding ways to promote faster growth is a top priority. But what exactly do economists know and not know about growth? What direction should future research and policymaking take? This issue explores this topic, starting with a major World Bank study and research coming out of Harvard University that urges less reliance on simple formulas and the elusive search for best practices, and greater reliance on deeper economic analysis to identify each country's binding constraint(s) on growth. Other articles highlight IMF research on pinpointing effective levers for growth in developing countries and Africa's experience with growth accelerations. Also in the issue are pieces examining global economic imbalances, rapid credit growth in Eastern and Central Europe, and ways to boost productivity growth in Europe and Japan. In Straight Talk, Raghuram Rajan argues that if we want microfinance to become more than a fad, it has to follow the clear and unsentimental path of adding value and making money. Asian Development Bank's Haruhiko Kuroda sets out his vision for a new financial architecture in Asia. Finally, Picture This takes an in-depth look at global employment trends.
Mr. Kevin J Carey, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo
Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has recently shown signs of improvement, but is still short of levels needed to attain the Millennium Development Goals. Economists have placed increasing emphasis on understanding the policies that promote sustained jumps in medium-term growth, and the paper applies this approach to African countries. The evidence presented finds an important growth-supporting role for particular kinds of institutions and policies, but also highlights aspects of growth that are still not well understood. The paper includes policy guidance for ensuring that the poor benefit from growth.
Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, Ms. Catherine A Pattillo, and Mr. Kevin J Carey
Are improvements in growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) since the mid-1990s sustainable? What types of growth strategies contribute the most to reducing poverty? This paper examines these questions in four stages. First, it explores the factors contributing to the post- 1995 improvement in growth. Second, to shed some light on factors associated with substantial jumps in growth rates that are sustained in the medium term, an analysis of the correlates of growth accelerations is presented. Third, the paper examines the consistency of the SSA data with some important predictions from the literature directly linking such areas as fiscal policy, financial development, or institutions and growth. Fourth, it reviews recent evidence regarding lessons on the type of growth process that is most effective at raising the incomes of the poor.
This paper anlayzes the role of the International Financial Corporation (IFC) in promoting economic development in developing countries with the private sector. IFC promotes growth of new companies, indigenous companies, and helps to introduce more capital from private sources into developing countries. Many countries need to develop capital market institutions such as stock exchanges, securities companies, leasing companies, and financial intermediaries of one kind or another. IFC has a special department, partly financed by the World Bank, that has provided expertise in these areas to a number of countries.