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Irina Bunda, Luc Eyraud, and Zhangrui Wang
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which has hit financial systems across Africa, is likely to deteriorate banks’ balance sheets. The largest threat to banks pertains to their loan portfolios, since many borrowers have faced a sharp collapse in their income, and therefore have difficulty repaying their obligations as they come due. This could lead to a sharp increase in nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the short to medium term.
Mindaugas Leika, Hector Perez-Saiz, Ms. Olga Ilinichna Stankova, and Torsten Wezel
The paper finds that supervisory stress tests are conducted in more than half of sub-Saharan African countries, particularly in western and southern Africa, and that the number of individual stress tests has grown exponentially since the early 2010s. By contrast, few central banks publish assessments of macro-financial linkages; the focus leans more toward discussing trends and weaknesses within the financial sector than on outside risks that may negatively affect its performance.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Ahmat Jidoud, Ms. Monique Newiak, Bozena Radzewicz-Bak, and Ms. Misa Takebe
This paper discusses how sub-Saharan Africa’s financial sector developed in the past few decades, compared with other regions. Sub-Saharan African countries have made substantial progress in financial development over the past decade, but there is still considerable scope for further development, especially compared with other regions. Indeed, until a decade or so ago, the level of financial development in a large number of sub-Saharan African countries had actually regressed relative to the early 1980s. With the exception of the region’s middle-income countries, both financial market depth and institutional development are lower than in other developing regions. The region has led the world in innovative financial services based on mobile telephony, but there remains scope to increase financial inclusion further. The development of mobile telephone-based systems has helped to incorporate a large share of the population into the financial system, especially in East Africa. Pan-African banks have been a driver for homegrown financial development, but they also bring a number of challenges.
Mr. Tetsuya Konuki and Mr. Mauricio Villafuerte
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. African Dept.

Abstract

La croissance économique en Afrique subsaharienne est tombée en 2015 à son plus bas niveau depuis quinze ans, avec toutefois une grande disparité entre les pays de la région. La chute des cours des produits de base de ces dernières années a ébranlé beaucoup des plus grands pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, dont des pays exportateurs de pétrole tels que l'Angola et le Nigéria, et d'autres produits exportateurs de produits de base, tels que le Ghana, l'Afrique du Sud et la Zambie. La baisse des cours pétroliers a toutefois permis à d'autres pays de maintenir une croissance vigoureuse, dont le Kenya et le Sénégal. Dans de nombreux pays, il est urgent et essentiel de prendre des mesures robustes face aux chocs sur les termes de l'échange. Le rapport aborde également la vulnérabilité de l'Afrique subsaharienne face aux chocs sur les prix de base et note les avancées spectaculaires en matière de développement du secteur financier, et plus particulièrement dans le domaine des services financiers mobiles.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years, though with large variation among countries in the region. The sharp decline in commodity prices has severely strained many of the largest economies, including oil exporters Angola and Nigeria, and other commodity exporters, such as Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia. At the same time, the decline in oil prices has helped other countries continue to show robust growth, including Kenya and Senegal. A strong policy response to the terms-of-trade shocks is critical and urgent in many countries. This report also examines sub-Saharan Africa’s vulnerability to commodity price shocks, and documents the substantial progress made in financial develop, especially financial services based on mobile technologies.

Mr. Mauro Mecagni, Daniela Marchettini, and Mr. Rodolfo Maino
Banking in SSA has undergone very significant changes over the last two decades. Financial liberalization and related reforms, upgrades in institutional and more recently the expansion of cross-border banking activities and the rapid development of Pan-African banking groups are signaling greater financial integration and significant changes in the African banking and financial landscape. Nonetheless, excess liquidity in many countries reflects limited lending opportunities and, despite improvements, asset quality and provisioning remain comparatively low. Dollarization has also been a persistent characteristic in several natural resource-dependent economies. This paper discusses key stylized facts and trends of banking development in SSA, looking at a variety of dimensions such as size, depth, soundness, and efficiency. It also assess the rapid expansion of pan-African banking groups, which have overtaken the role of the European and U.S. banks that had traditionally dominated banking activities in SSA, creating significant cross-border networks and becoming the largest participants in new syndicates and large bilateral loans to finance infrastructure development.
Mr. Charles Enoch, Mr. Paul Henri Mathieu, Mr. Mauro Mecagni, and Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko
Pan-African banks are expanding rapidly across the continent, creating cross-border networks, and having a systemic presence in the banking sectors of many Sub-Saharan African countries. These banking groups are fostering financial development and economic integration, stimulating competition and efficiency, introducing product innovation and modern management and information systems, and bringing higher skills and expertise to host countries. At the same time, the rise of pan-African banks presents new challenges for regulators and supervisors. As networks expand, new channels for transmission of macro-financial risks and spillovers across home and host countries may emerge. To ensure that the gains from cross border banking are sustained and avoid raising financial stability risks, enhanced cross-border cooperation on regulatory and supervisory oversight is needed, in particular to support effective supervision on a consolidated basis. This paper takes stock of the development of pan-African banking groups; identifies regulatory, supervisory and resolution gaps; and suggests how the IMF can help the authorities address the related challenges.
International Monetary Fund
There has been a rapid expansion of pan-African banks (PABs) in recent years, with seven major PABs having a presence in at least ten African countries: three of these are headquartered in Morocco, two in Togo, and one each in Nigeria and South Africa. Additional banks, primarily from Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa, have a regional presence with operations in at least five countries. PABs have a systemic presence in around 36 countries. Overall, the PABs are now much more important in Africa than the long-established European and American banks.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
To assess the financial stability in Nigeria, various stress tests and analytic processes were undertaken jointly by the Nigerian authorities and the Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) team. The exercise included macroeconomic scenario analysis and its transmission into a range of single- and multifactor shocks. The tests covered the entire Nigerian banking system and looked at the short-term horizon, in part because of data constraints. Sensitivity stress tests estimated the impact of changes in individual variables on banks’ portfolios.