Ms. Alina Carare, Carlos de Resende, Andrew T. Levin, and Chelsea Zhang
In recent years, many Low-Income Countries (LICs) have implemented substantial reforms to their monetary policy frameworks, but existing economic research has not provided a clear rationale to guide those efforts. In this paper we analyze the role of monetary policy frameworks in the propagation of aggregate shocks, using a large panel dataset of 79 LICs over the period 1990-2015 as well as event study analysis for a group of 28 sub-Saharan African LICs. We find highly significant differences in the propagation of external shocks between the LICs that target monetary aggregates or inflation compared to those that maintain rigid nominal exchange rates as a nominal anchor. We also find that the large surprise devaluation of the Central African Franc (CFA) in January 1994 had highly significant effects on the GDP growth of 10 CFA countries compared to 18 similar countries that were outside the CFA zone. Our empirical analysis provides strong support for the role of monetary policy frameworks in facilitating macroeconomic stability in LICs—a conclusion that is particularly relevant as LICs now face a multitude of similar shocks associated with the global COVID-19 pandemic.
A recent World Bank enterprise survey identified access to finance as the top constraint to Doing Business in Nigeria. In this context, the objective of this paper is two-fold: (i) study firm characteristics associated with more access to finance and export diversification; and (ii) quantify the impact of these structural obstacles on firm performance. Results suggest that (i) larger and export-oriented firms are about 40 percentage points less likely to report access to finance as a business obstacle, while firms perceiving access to finance as a constraint are, on average, about 10-40 percentage points less likely to be export-oriented diversified firms; and (ii) better access to finance and export diversification can help firm employment —as much as 80 percent higher— and capacity utilization. Results are largely robust to different specifications and estimation methods.
Excessively procyclical fiscal policy can be harmful. This paper investigates to what extent the fiscal policies of sub-Saharan African countries were procyclical in recent years and the reasons for the degree of fiscal procyclicality among these countries. It finds that a tendency for procyclical fiscal policy was particularly pronounced among oil exporters and after the global financial crisis. It also finds a statistically significant causal link running from deeper financial markets and higher reserves coverage to lower fiscal policy procyclicality. Fiscal rules supported by strong political commitment and institutions seem to be key to facilitating progress for deeper financial markets and stronger reserves coverage.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
This article profiles iconoclastic economist Dani Rodrik, the Harvard professor whose warnings about the downsides of globalization proved prescient. Rodrik has spent most of his professional life at Ivy League institutions. He has a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and master’s and PhD degrees from Princeton, followed by a teaching career at Harvard and Columbia. Rodrik’s warnings that the benefits of free trade were more apparent to economists than to others were prescient. His skepticism about the benefits of unfettered flows of capital across national boundaries is now conventional wisdom. His successful attack on the so-called Washington Consensus of policies to generate economic growth has made governments and international organizations like the IMF and the World Bank admit that there are many policy recipes that can generate growth. Rodrik’s caution about financial globalization is now widely shared, including at the IMF.
La situation économique en Afrique subsaharienne est restée généralement robuste en dépit du marasme économique mondial. Les perspectives à court terme de la région restent dans l'ensemble positives : une croissance annuelle de 5¼ % est prévue pour 2012–13. La plupart des pays à faible revenu devraient continuer d'afficher une croissance vigoureuse, portée par la demande intérieure, y compris l'investissement. Les perspectives sont moins favorables pour beaucoup de pays à revenu intermédiaire, en particulier l'Afrique du Sud, qui sont liés plus étroitement aux marchés européens et souffrent donc davantage de la conjoncture extérieure. Les principaux risques pesant sur les perspectives sont une intensification des tensions financières dans la zone euro et un ajustement budgétaire brutal aux États-Unis (« précipice budgétaire »).
Economic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa have remained generally robust despite a sluggish global economy. The near-term outlook for the region remains broadly positive, and growth is projected at 5¼ percent a year in 2012-13. Most low-income countries are projected to continue to grow strongly, supported by domestic demand, including from investment. The outlook is less favorable for many of the middle-income countries, especially South Africa, that are more closely linked to European markets and thus experience a more noticeable drag from the external environment. The main risks to the outlook are an intensification of financial stresses in the euro zone and a sharp fiscal adjustment in the US--the so-called fiscal cliff.
This paper proposes a general framework for monitoring macro-critical energy sectors in low-income countries, defined as consisting of the three subsectors of crude oil and natural gas production, refinery, and electricity production. It aims to derive consistent information on physical and financial flows in the sector, including on interlinkages between the subsectors. It then applies this framework to Côte d'Ivoire. While being an important source of growth, the Ivoirien energy sector is found to have important shortcomings, in particular as regards transparency, efficiency and contribution to fiscal revenue. Among the key problems are partially intransparent production sharing arrangements for hydrocarbon production, price distortions for natural gas, administered prices for refined petroleum products, underfunding and lack of investment in the electricity sector, and inefficient government subsidies in the latter two subsectors.
This paper evaluates a fiscal scenario based on the assumption of a rapid scaling-up of expenditure to be followed by a rapid scaling-down in the context of Azerbaijan's current temporary oil production boom. To this end, it relies on a review of historical precedents and a neoclassical growth model. Based on both strands of analysis, the paper suggests that the evaluated fiscal scenario poses significant risks to growth sustainability.
This paper presents a simple structural model of inflation adapted for Nigeria based on the methodology of Berg, Karam, and Laxton. This approach allows different policy options to be considered systematically in a baseline forecasting exercise. The development and calibration of this model are ongoing. The consolidation of the banking system has transformed Nigeria’s financial system and created opportunities for financial institutions and market participants; but, it also poses challenges for financial stability. Efforts must therefore be stepped up to strengthen supervision and regulatory interventions.
Mr. Alonso A Segura Vasi, Walter Zarate, Mr. Gonzalo C Pastor Campos, and Mr. Ulrich H Klueh
This paper attempts to offer specific inputs to the debate on local content promotion in the oil industry, using the specific case of São Tomé and Príncipe as point of reference. Our approach emphasizes inter-sectoral linkages and institutional pre-conditions for local content promotion. Based on an Input-Output description of the economy, we quantify the consistency between the prospective oil sector development and the growth of other sectors of the economy. We also assess a number of sectoral policies and "niche" activities within the oil industry that would maximize the local benefits from oil exploration.