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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
All end-June performance criteria and indicative targets under the ECF arrangement were met, and all structural benchmarks were completed, albeit with minor delays. However, there was a nonobservance of the continuous performance criterion on the ceiling on new nonconcessional external debt in July with the issuance of the US$750 million Eurobond (exceeding the US$500 million program ceiling).
Mr. Ernesto Hernández-Catá
This paper argues that sub-Saharan Africa’s growth performance needs to be improved substantially in order to raise standards of living to an acceptable level and achieve a visible reduction in poverty. The paper provides a broad overview of the explanations for sub-Saharan Africa’s unsatisfactory growth performance in the past, paying particular attention to the empirical literature. It argues that growth has been hampered by economic distortions and institutional deficiencies that have increased the risk of investing in Africa, and lowered the rates of return on capital and labor as well as the growth of total factor productivity.
Mr. David E. Sahn and Mr. Stephen D. Younger
This paper examines the progressivity of social sector expenditures and taxes in eight sub-Saharan African countries. It uses dominance tests to determine whether health and education expenditures redistribute resources to the poor. The paper finds that social services are poorly targeted. Among the services examined, primary education tends to be most progressive, and university education is least progressive. The paper finds that many taxes are progressive as well as efficient, including some broad-based taxes such as the VAT and wage taxation. Taxes on kerosene and exports appear to be the only examples of regressive taxes.
Julio A. Santaella
This paper analyzes the initial conditions before Fund financial arrangements are adopted. Evidence from 324 Fund arrangements in 78 developing countries during 1973-91 indicates that there are important differences in the characteristics between program episodes and a control group. Program episodes exhibit weaker balance of payments, output growth, investment, external conditions and fiscal policy than the control group; they are also characterized by a higher degree of external indebtedness and inflation, and their exchange rates are more depreciated in both nominal and real terms. Only in the case of the growth rates of money and credit do the two groups appear to be statistically similar.