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Karim Barhoumi, Ha Vu, Shirin Nikaein Towfighian, and Mr. Rodolfo Maino
There is significant room to improve public investment efficiency in sub-Saharan Africa. Investment in sub-Saharan African countries is lagging vis-à-vis peers such as emerging and developing Asia as well as Latin America and the Caribbean, and the region’s infrastructure is perceived as being of relatively low quality. Improving the efficiency of sizable investment programs in the region could contribute to more solid economic growth and help achieve desired social priorities and development goals. Results point to some variability in public investment efficiency within the region. Comparing efficiency scores across country groups suggests that investment efficiency in sub-Saharan African oil exporters tends to be lower than in sub-Saharan African non-resource-intensive countries. Additionally, countries in East African Community (EAC) perform better than those in Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Stronger institutions could foster more efficient public investment. The regression results in this paper show a positive correlation between public investment efficiency and the quality of institutions, suggesting that devel-oping stronger institutions in sub-Saharan Africa could lead to a significant improvement in investment efficiency. This is particularly relevant for coun-tries with weak institutional quality, where governments may use capital spending as a vehicle for rent-seeking, leading to inefficient spending. Given the current drive for scaling up investment in sub-Saharan Africa, the task of improving institutions quickly should become a priority.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
This Technical Assistance Report presents an evaluation of the public investment management (PIM) in Liberia. The overall performance of PIM in Liberia is in line with that of comparable low-income countries, and reflects the country’s post-conflict status, which severely damaged its infrastructure, and heavy dependence on external loans and grants. About 80 percent of Liberia’s public investment is financed through external sources. grants and concessional loans, and executed outside the budget. These sources of funding are not within government’s control and have contributed to the volatility of public investment in recent years.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This paper discusses Liberia’s Second Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement and Request for Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria and Modification of a Performance Criterion. Program performance has weakened relative to the previous review, as well as the former ECF-supported arrangement. Three out of six performance criteria and two out of four indicative targets were missed. The IMF staff supports the completion of the second review of the ECF arrangement and the authorities’ request for waivers of performance criteria and modification of the domestic financing performance criterion.

Mr. John W Clark JR and Mr. Manuel Rosales Torres
Liberia is facing large infrastructure gaps and developmental needs that constrain the country’s growth potential. The government has set an ambitious agenda to transform the economy and to reach middle-income country status by 2030 by scaling up investment in infrastructure and human capital. Fiscal space remains constrained by rigidities in current spending and the government will need to resort to borrowing to close some of the gaps. This paper presents an estimate of the nexus between public investment, financing, and growth in Liberia using an inter-temporal macroeconomic model. The model has been calibrated as much as possible to Liberian economic data and assumes that public investment has a high economic and social rate of return and is highly complementary toward private sector investment. The objective of the paper is to contribute to the debate on how fast public investment should be scaled up to address the country’s developmental needs. The paper also highlights the trade-offs and potential risks associated with different financing options and the required changes in fiscal policy to ensure macroeconomic stability.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The 2012 Article IV Consultation with Liberia discusses the economic developments and policies of the country. Liberia recorded strong macroeconomic performance under the three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement, but poverty continued to be pervasive. The short- to medium-term outlook has remained favorable, although subject to considerable risks. Following resumption of iron ore exports in 2011, real GDP growth is estimated at 9 percent in 2012, supported by strong growth in the mining sector and expansionary fiscal policy for infrastructure investment. IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for a successor arrangement under the ECF.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

The 2012 Article IV Consultation with Liberia discusses the economic developments and policies of the country. Liberia recorded strong macroeconomic performance under the three-year Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement, but poverty continued to be pervasive. The short- to medium-term outlook has remained favorable, although subject to considerable risks. Following resumption of iron ore exports in 2011, real GDP growth is estimated at 9 percent in 2012, supported by strong growth in the mining sector and expansionary fiscal policy for infrastructure investment. IMF staff supports the authorities’ request for a successor arrangement under the ECF.

Mr. Alan H. Gelb, Mr. Arnaud Dupuy, and Mr. Rabah Arezki
This paper studies the optimal public investment decisions in countries experiencing a resource windfall. To do so, we use an augmented version of the Permanent Income framework with public investment faced with adjustment costs capturing the associated administrative capacity as well as government direct transfers. A key assumption is that those adjustment costs rise with the size of the resource windfall. The main results from the analytical model are threefold. First, a larger resource windfall commands a lower level of public capital but a higher level of redistribution through transfers. Second, weaker administrative capacity lowers the increase in optimal public capital following a resource windfall. Third, higher total factor productivity in the non-resource sector reduces the degree of des-investment in public capital commanded by weaker administrative capacity. We further extend our basic model to allow for "investing in investing" - that is public investment in administrative capacity - by endogenizing the adjustment cost in public investment. Results from the numerical simulations suggest, among other things, that a higher initial stock of public administrative "know how" leads to a higher level of optimal public investment following a resource windfall. Implications for policy are discussed.