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Mr. Ivohasina F Razafimahefa
This paper analyzes the exchange rate pass-through to domestic prices and its determinants in sub-Saharan African countries. It finds that the pass-through is incomplete. The pass-through is larger following a depreciation than after an appreciation of the local currency. The average elasticity is estimated at about 0.4. It is lower in countries with more flexible exchange rate regimes and in countries with a higher income. A low inflation environment, a prudent monetary policy, and a sustainable fiscal policy are associated with a lower pass-through. The degree of pass-through has declined in the SSA region since the mid-1990s following marked improvements in macroeconomic and political environments.
Mr. David John Goldsbrough, Mrs. Isabelle Mateos y Lago, Mr. Martin D Kaufman, Mr. Daouda Sembene, Mr. Tsidi M Tsikata, Mr. Steve K Mugerwa, Mr. Alex Segura-Ubiergo, and Mr. Jeff Chelsky

Abstract

In 1999, the IMF and the World Bank adopted a new frame work for supporting economic reform in low-income member countries to achieve the objectives of poverty reduction and economic growth. The frame work consists of two key elements: country-authored Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers, drawing on broad-based consultations with key stake holder groups; and a vehicle for the provision of IMF concessional lending, the Poverty Reduction andGrowth Facility. This evaluation takes stock of progress to date and attempts to identify short comings that may require course corrections in the design and implementation of the initiative.

Mr. Rodolphe Blavy, Mr. Anupam Basu, and Mr. Murat  Yulek
Based on the experience of selected countries, this paper offers a critical presentation of the development of the microfinance sector in Africa. The paper supports the view that microfinance institutions, especially those engaged in full financial intermediation, complement effectively the banking sector in extending financial services and successfully draw on the rich experience of community-based development and preexisting informal methods of financial intermediation in Africa. Growing linkages between microfinance institutions and the banking system and the dissemination of good practices by nongovernment organizations contribute to the sound development of the sector, supported by regulation and supervision by local authorities.
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.
Mr. Ian Lienert and Jitendra R. Modi
This paper assesses a decade of experience in civil service reform in a sample of 32 sub-Saharan African countries. Many countries have made an important start towards reducing excessive staffing levels and the nominal wage bill, but less progress has been made in decompressing salary differentials in favor of higher-grade staff. In the CFA franc zone countries, real wages fell sharply after the 1994 devaluation, but the wage bill relative to tax revenue is still high in many countries. There is a need to consolidate quantitative first-generation reforms that contribute to macroeconomic stabilization. Equally important is the need to make progress on qualitative second-generation reforms, especially remuneration and promotion policies that reward performance and measures to improve civil service management. Such policies will require strong political commitment by governments.
Mr. Patrick Honohan and Mr. Stephen A. O'Connell
In post-independence sub-Saharan Africa, institutional arrangements for monetary policy have taken a variety of forms, although the historical evolution of many African financial systems has been similar. This paper identifies five different regimes and examines how they evolved over time. It focuses on how the alternative institutional arrangements have influenced the performance of monetary policy under fiscal pressure, and concludes that, although the trend appears to be toward more flexible regimes, the transition to greater flexibility can exacerbate problems of credibility and of macroeconomic management.