Household financial fragility has received considerable attention following the global
financial crisis, but substantial gaps remain in the analytical underpinnings of household
financial vulnerability assessment, as well as in data availability. This paper aims at
integrating the contributions in the literature in a coherent fashion. The study proposes also
analytical and estimation extensions aimed at improving the quality of estimates and
allowing the assessment of household financial vulnerability in presence of data limitations.
The result of this effort is a comprehensive framework, that has wide applicability to both
advanced and developing economies. For illustrative purposes the paper includes a detailed
application to one developing country (Namibia).
This Selected Issues paper assesses the impact of alternative fiscal consolidation strategies on Namibia’s growth. It uses a model developed at the IMF to gain insights on what would be a growth-friendly composition of the fiscal adjustment. The analysis suggests that a combined strategy of revenue and expenditure measures has lower negative effects on growth than a pure expenditure-based adjustment. Structural reforms improving the efficiency of public investment can further reduce the negative effect of consolidation on growth, and potentially strengthen growth. Overall, minimizing the negative impact of fiscal consolidation on growth requires combining revenue and expenditure measures, together with fiscal structural reforms.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights that Namibia has experienced remarkable growth and economic progress since the financial crisis. Strong policy frameworks and expansionary domestic policies have contributed to macroeconomic stability, robust growth, and rising living standards. Yet deep-rooted structural impediments have kept unemployment high and unresponsive to growth, contributing to persistently high inequality. The outlook remains positive with considerable vulnerabilities and risks. Growth is projected to temporarily weaken to 1.6 percent in 2016 as the construction of large mines ends and the government starts consolidating.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Ahmat Jidoud, Ms. Monique Newiak, Bozena Radzewicz-Bak, and Ms. Misa Takebe
This paper discusses how sub-Saharan Africa’s financial sector developed in the past few decades, compared with other regions. Sub-Saharan African countries have made substantial progress in financial development over the past decade, but there is still considerable scope for further development, especially compared with other regions. Indeed, until a decade or so ago, the level of financial development in a large number of sub-Saharan African countries had actually regressed relative to the early 1980s. With the exception of the region’s middle-income countries, both financial market depth and institutional development are lower than in other developing regions. The region has led the world in innovative financial services based on mobile telephony, but there remains scope to increase financial inclusion further. The development of mobile telephone-based systems has helped to incorporate a large share of the population into the financial system, especially in East Africa. Pan-African banks have been a driver for homegrown financial development, but they also bring a number of challenges.
This Selected Issues paper examines macro-financial risks associated with housing boom in Namibia. Namibia has enjoyed stable and steady progress in financial sector developments, but vulnerabilities might have built up. The recent evolution of Namibia’s housing prices raises a question as to whether the prices reflect economic fundamentals. Overall, estimates based on cross-country evidence of countries that experienced a boom-bust episode in the housing sector suggest that Namibia’s real economic growth could be 3 to 27 percentage points lower than under the baseline scenario over a three-year period. Under the most adverse scenario, in particular, GDP is expected to contract 9.9 percent in real terms over the three-year projection period.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes policies that can raise potential growth in small middle-income countries (SMICs) of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The findings suggest that although macroeconomic stability and trade openness are necessary for productivity growth, they are not sufficient. SMICs in SSA need to improve the quality of their public spending, most notably on education, to solve the problem of skill mismatch in the labor market, reduce the regulatory burden on firms, improve access to financing by small and medium-size enterprises, and pave the way for structural transformation in these economies. Given the short-term cost of these reforms, the timing and sequencing of reforms and the role of quick wins is important for their implementation. In some cases, a social bargain can be a mechanism to generate consensus around a package of mutually reinforcing reforms.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on the challenges of small middle-income countries (MIC) in sSub-Saharan Africa (SSA) comprising Cape Verde, Namibia, and the Kingdom of Swaziland. The IMF report summarizes the analytic underpinnings that support the IMF staff’s advice on policies to strengthen macroeconomic stability, foster more inclusive growth, and enhance the resilience of their financial systems. It recommends that macroeconomic policies should aim to rebuild policy buffers to help cushion against large external shocks especially given the prevalence of pegged exchange rate regimes in these economies.
This Selected Issues paper and Statistical Appendix for the Kingdom of Swaziland assesses the interaction of nonbank financial institutions (NBFIs) within the financial system and the real economy. Understanding the type of flows will help in designing policies to better manage capital flows and allow higher interest rate; and more attractive domestic investment opportunities could reduce outflows. The current global financial crisis provides useful lessons on the importance of an efficient regulatory and supervisory framework. However, regulation should be in line with economic structures and the stage of economic development.
The current high Southern African Customs Unions revenues should be used to implement fiscal measures to secure fiscal sustainability and support economic growth. The government should formulate a financial sector strategy that addresses Swaziland’s twin challenges of enhancing financial development and ensuring financial stability. Compounding the threat to exports of sugar and textiles is the looming issue of remaining competitive in a quickly changing global environment. The statistics on export and import, gross domestic product, assets and liabilities, and other such data have also been provided.
Current trends in financial sector development in sub-Saharan Africa are prompting policymakers to focus on the design of appropriate supervisory structures. Against the backdrop of worldwide efforts to remodel supervisory structures, this paper develops an analytical framework for designing a regulatory strategy that could assist in prioritizing the needs for regulation and supervision over time. Such a strategy should facilitate the design of a supervisory structure suitable for an individual country's current and future needs. The paper emphasizes that in the case of sub-Saharan Africa, any such strategy is constrained by the reality of capacity limitations and should take into account the need to keep the central bank involved in the process. Building on the framework, the paper identifies a number of supervisory structures that could meet sub-Saharan Africa's needs.