This Selected Issues paper focuses on the prospects of growth in São Tomé and Príncipe (STP). This case study seeks explanations for STP’s relative under-performance and draws lessons for the future. It compares past economic developments in the islands and recommends policies that could most effectively foster future growth in STP. Country-specific characteristics as well as weak institutions contributed to STP’s relative underperformance since independence. Initial conditions, particularly regarding human capital and natural resources, contributed to STP’s relative underperformance, especially in the first decade after independence. Experience in the four island-states suggests that fiscal discipline, revenue mobilization, and a more active private sector, particularly in the tourism sector, may be key to tap STP’s growth potential. Fiscal discipline is needed to contain the fiscal deficit and bring the debt to a sustainable level. Continuing to strengthen public financial management, including implementing multiannual fiscal framework as recommended by the IMF technical assistance, would help.
Arnold McIntyre, Mike Xin Li, Ke Wang, and Hanlei Yun
The paper considers concepts of economic diversification with respect to exports (including service sectors) for small states. We assessed the economic performance of different groups of 34 small states over the period of 1990-2015 and found those more diversified experienced lower output volatility and higher average growth than most other small states. Our findings are consistent with conventional economic theories but we found that export diversification has a more significant impact on reducing output volatility than improving long run growth in small states. Diversification requires fundamental changes and should be contemplated in the context of a cohesive development strategy.
Leandro Medina, Mr. Andrew W Jonelis, and Mehmet Cangul
The multiple indicator-multiple cause (MIMIC) method is a well-established tool for measuring informal economic activity. However, it has been criticized because GDP is used both as a cause and indicator variable. To address this issue, this paper applies for the first time the light intensity approach (instead of GDP). It also uses the Predictive Mean Matching (PMM) method to estimate the size of the informal economy for Sub-Saharan African countries over 24 years. Results suggest that informal economy in Sub-Saharan Africa remains among the largest in the world, although this share has been very gradually declining. It also finds significant heterogeneity, with informality ranging from a low of 20 to 25 percent in Mauritius, South Africa and Namibia to a high of 50 to 65 percent in Benin, Tanzania and Nigeria.
This Selected Issues paper examines whether the recent slowdown in private sector credit growth in Cabo Verde is demand or supply driven. Although in the late 2000s, demand factors have been the main drivers in Cabo Verde’s credit market, supply dynamics’ role has increased in recent years. For Cabo Verde to promote private sector-led growth and sustainable economic development, reforms aiming at strengthening both credit demand and supply will be essential. These include improving the business environment for the private sector as well as strengthening the financial sector by ensuring prudent banking supervision and an effective resolution of the nonperforming loan overhang.
Ms. Christine Dieterich, Anni Huang, and Mr. Alun H. Thomas
As labor market data is scarce in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), this paper uses household survey data to
analyze the determinants of the gender gap in the labor market and its welfare implications for five SSA
countries in multinomial logit models with propensity score matching method. The analysis confirms that
education opens up opportunities for women to escape agricultural feminization and engage in formal
wage employment, but these opportunities diminish when women marry—a disadvantage increasingly
relevant when countries develop and urbanization progresses. Opening a household enterprise offers
women an alternative avenue to escape low-paid jobs in agriculture, but the increase in per capita income
is lower than male-owned household enterprises. These findings underline that improving women’s
education needs to be supported by measures to allow married women to keep their jobs in the wage
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 report on the observance of Standards and Codes—Data Module provides an assessment of Mauritius’s macroeconomic statistics against the Special Data Dissemination Standard complemented by an assessment of data quality based on the IMF’s Data Quality Assessment Framework July 2003. The assessment reveals that the quality of the macroeconomic statistics in Mauritius has improved significantly since the previous assessment conducted in 2001. Quarterly national accounts were successfully put in place. Work is well advanced to implement the new international methodology for government finance statistics.