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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Republic of Congo’s Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The Republic of Congo’s ECF program supports the authorities’ efforts to restore fiscal sustainability and rebuild regional reserves while improving governance and protecting vulnerable groups. The Congolese authorities have stepped up efforts in 2018 and 2019 to address the economic crisis and the associated governance challenges. The ECF-supported program aims to help the Republic of Congo restore macroeconomic stability, including debt sustainability, and lay the foundations for higher and more inclusive growth. It also seeks to improve governance to achieve greater efficiency and transparency in the management of public resources, especially in the oil sector. The Fund-supported program is expected to contribute positively to the regional strategy and stability efforts of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union. The report also highlights that it is key to promote the productivity of factor inputs by increasing investments in human capital.
Mr. Giovanni Melina, Hoda Selim, and Concepcion Verdugo-Yepes
This paper argues that oil revenue management and public investment in Congo are vulnerable to corruption as a result of limited transparency and accountability. Corruption has potentially contributed to poor macro-fiscal outcomes. The paper acknowledges the authorities’ anti-corruption efforts made so far and proposes further critical reforms to reduce remaining vulnerabilities. Using a dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model results show that, depending on the reforms adopted, the potential additional growth can range between 0.8 to 1.8 percent per year over the next 10 years, and debt can decline by 2.25 to 3 percent of GDP per year over the same period. These results suggest that macrofiscal gains from anti-corruption reforms could be substantial even under conservative reform scenarios.
Feng Wei and Jean-François Wen
Presumptive income taxes in the form of a tax on turnover for SMEs are pervasive as a way to reduce the costs of compliance and administration. We analyze a model where entrepreneurs allocate labor to the formal and informal sectors. Formal sector income is subjected either to a corporate income tax or a tax on turnover, depending on whether their turnover exceeds a threshold. We characterize the private sector equilibrium for any given configuration of tax policy parameters (corporate income tax rate, turnover tax rate, and threshold). Given private behavior, social welfare is optimized. We interpret the first-order conditions for welfare maximization to identify the key margins and then simulate a calibrated version of the model.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

The economic recovery in sub-Saharan Africa is expected to continue, but at a slower pace than envisaged in October 2018. This weaker outlook reflects domestic and external challenges. On the external side, the global expansion is losing momentum, including in China and the euro area, trade tensions remain elevated, global financial conditions have tightened, and commodity prices are expected to remain low. On the domestic front, security challenges, climate shocks, and policy uncertainty are hampering investment and weighing on economic prospects in several countries. Under current policies, medium-term average growth for the region is expected to continue to fall well short of what is needed to absorb the new entrants to the labor force and to deliver limited gains in living standards.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

The region is seeing a modest growth uptick, but this is not uniform and the medium-term outlook remains subdued. Growth is projected to rise to 3.4 percent in 2018, from 2.8 percent in 2017, on the back of improved global growth, higher commodity prices, and continued strong public spending. About ¾ of the countries in the region are predicted to experience faster growth. Beyond 2018, growth is expected to plateau below 4 percent, modestly above population growth, reflecting continued sluggishness in the oil-exporting countries and sustained growth in non-resource-intensive countries. A number of countries (Burundi, DRC, South Sudan, and parts of the Sahel) remain locked in internal conflict resulting in record levels of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, with adverse spillovers to neighboring countries.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses the CEMAC Regional convergence framework that aims at ensuring that national policies are consistent with a smooth functioning of CEMAC’s economic and monetary union. Established in 1999, a few years after the 1994 devaluation, as part of the Convergence and Stability Pact, it aims at addressing the coordination challenges posed by CEMAC’s common monetary policies and decentralized fiscal policies. CEMAC Regional convergence framework aims at ensuring that national policies are consistent with a smooth functioning of CEMAC’s economic and monetary union. Established in 1999, a few years after the 1994 devaluation, as part of the Convergence and Stability Pact, it aims at addressing the coordination challenges posed by CEMAC’s common monetary policies and decentralized fiscal policies. Owing in part to the weaknesses, the fiscal convergence framework has not been sufficient to prevent a sharp deterioration in public accounts over the last few years.
Céline Allard, Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia, Emmanouil Kitsios, Mr. Juan P Trevino, and Ms. Wenjie Chen
This analysis of the extent of trade integration of sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries in the global economy as well as within the region over the 1995–2013 period focuses on four key concepts: (1) trade openness, captured by import and export flows; (2) the centrality in the global and regional trade network, a measure that takes into account not only the size of trade but also the number of trade partners and the respective weight of these trade partners in global trade; (3) gravity model estimates that account for country- and region-specific determinants of bilateral trade flows; and (4) global value chain (GVC) integration. Using both existing data and a newly available dataset based on multiregion input and output tables, this analysis led to several findings: (1) trade openness has increased strongly; (2) integration in the global economy has made the region more vulnerable to external shocks; (3) levels of trade flows emanating from sub-Saharan Africa are still only half the magnitude of those experienced elsewhere in the world; (4) the region still has ways to go to better integrate in GVCs; and (5) it is more critical than ever to make progress in filling the infrastructure gap by lowering tariff and nontariff barriers, improving the business climate and access to credit, and continuing to enhance education outcomes.
Mr. Adrian Alter, Matteo Ghilardi, and Ms. Dalia S Hakura
This paper analyzes the tradeoffs between savings, debt and public investment in the Republic of Congo, a developing country with looming oil exhaustibility concerns. Our results highlight the risks to fiscal and capital sustainability of oil exporting countries from large scaling-up in public investment and oil price volatility in view of a projected decline in the oil revenue to GDP ratio. However, structural reforms that improve the efficiency of public investment can allow for a relatively faster buildup of sustainable public capital and sustain higher non-oil growth without adversely affecting the debt ratio or savings. Moreover, we show that even if a government pursues prudent fiscal policy that preserves resource wealth and debt sustainability in the face of exhaustible and volatile resource revenues, low public investment quality in the form of a misallocation of resources can hinder attainment of sustainable public capital and positive non-oil growth.