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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.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
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.
Mr. Lamin Y Leigh and Mr. Ali M. Mansoor

Abstract

This book describes the reforms needed to move small middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa to advanced-economy status. The result of intense discussions with public officials in the countries covered, the book blends rigorous theory, econometrics, and practitioners' insights to come up with practical recommendations for policymakers. It spans topics from macroeconomic vulnerability and reserve adequacy to labor market institutions and financial inclusion. The book is a must-read for researchers interested in the economic issues facing developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Morocco has made substantial progress in increasing inclusive growth over the past decade, but additional efforts in terms of growth-enhancing structural reforms are needed. Preserving economic efficiency and fostering growth while strengthening inclusiveness remains a priority. This paper describes the fuel subsidy system in Morocco, introduces an organizing framework to illustrate the trade-offs involved in meeting various economic and social objectives when considering subsidy reform, and highlights some lessons from the international experience in implementing subsidy reforms that may be pertinent to the case of Morocco.
Mr. Joannes Mongardini, Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Olivier Basdevant, Mr. Alfredo Cuevas, Mr. Xavier Debrun, Lars Holger Engstrom, Imelda M. Flores Vazquez, Mr. Vitaliy Kramarenko, Mr. Lamin Y Leigh, Mr. Paul R Masson, and Ms. Genevieve Verdier

Abstract

The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is the oldest customs union in the world, with significant opportunities ahead for creating higher economic growth and increased welfare benefits to the people of the region, by fulfilling its vision to become an economic community with a common market and monetary union. This volume describes policy options to address the barriers to equitable and sustainable development in the region and outlines a plan for deeper regional integration.

Olivier Basdevant, Dalmacio Benicio, and Mr. Yorbol Yakhshilikov
This paper applies the work of Berg and Ostry (2011) to the SACU region, to identify how inequalities have played a role in growth in each of these countries, and elaborates policy options to mitigate the effects of inequalities and foster growth. Lower income inequalities could lead to significant gains, as SACU countries could almost double the duration of their growth periods, with much lower inequalities. While reducing inequalities may be desirable, the design of policies to achieve such objective is not trivial. Policies targeting income inequalities at the sources are expected to be the most effective to reduce inequalities and promote growth. However, direct redistribution, if carefully crafted can also be very effective in reducing inequalities while limiting its potentially negative impact on growth.
International Monetary Fund
The recent uptrend in Namibia’s current account surplus reflects an increase in public and private savings. Tighter domestic investment rules will not reduce capital outflows. The phasing and macroeconomic impact of regulatory changes requires careful scrutiny. Market-based incentives for investment repatriation are attractive. Namibia’s non-renewable natural resource sector is a significant contributor to Namibia’s economy and it is important to continue management of its mineral resources wisely. Faster growth in low-skill job opportunities and more flexible labor market institutions will help tackle unemployment in the short-term.