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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on the prospects of growth in São Tomé and Príncipe (STP). This case study seeks explanations for STP’s relative under-performance and draws lessons for the future. It compares past economic developments in the islands and recommends policies that could most effectively foster future growth in STP. Country-specific characteristics as well as weak institutions contributed to STP’s relative underperformance since independence. Initial conditions, particularly regarding human capital and natural resources, contributed to STP’s relative underperformance, especially in the first decade after independence. Experience in the four island-states suggests that fiscal discipline, revenue mobilization, and a more active private sector, particularly in the tourism sector, may be key to tap STP’s growth potential. Fiscal discipline is needed to contain the fiscal deficit and bring the debt to a sustainable level. Continuing to strengthen public financial management, including implementing multiannual fiscal framework as recommended by the IMF technical assistance, would help.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights that the international reserve buffers have improved substantially in Mauritius. The government intends to pursue an ambitious growth strategy anchored on significant public investments in infrastructure and improvements in the business environment. Growth is projected at 3.9 percent in 2017, and about 4.0 percent over the medium term. The authorities have taken steps to mitigate financial stability risks and are well-advanced in modernizing financial sector regulation. However, the vibrant Global Business Sector faces pressure from international anti-tax avoidance initiatives. Fiscal space is limited, fiscal risks are increasing, and there are signs of building inflationary pressures.
Francisco Arizala, Mr. Jesus R Gonzalez-Garcia, Mr. Charalambos G Tsangarides, and Mustafa Yenice
This paper examines the growth performance of sub-Saharan African countries since 1960 through the lens of growth turning points (accelerations and decelerations) and periods of sustained growth (growth spells). Growth accelerations are generally associated with improved external conditions, increased investment and trade openness, declines in inflation, better fiscal balances, and improvements in the institutional environment. Transitioning from growth accelerations to growth spells often requires additional efforts beyond what is needed to trigger an acceleration. Growth spells are sustained by fiscal policy that prevents excessive public debt accumulation, monetary policy geared toward low inflation, outward-oriented trade policies, and structural policies that reduce market distortions, as well as supportive external environment and improvements in democratic institutions. Overall, determinants of growth spells in sub-Saharan Africa are different from those in the rest of the emerging and developing countries.
Anh D. M. Nguyen, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Ms. Filiz D Unsal, and Mr. Oral Williams
The perception that inflation dynamics in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are driven by supply shocks implies a limited role for monetary policy in influencing inflation in the short run. SSA’s rapid growth, its integration with the global economy, changes in the policy frameworks, among others, in the last decade suggest that the drivers of inflation may have changed. We quantitatively analyze inflation dynamics in SSA using a Global VAR model, which incorporates trade and financial linkages among economies, as well as the role of regional and global demand and inflationary spillovers. We find that in the past 25 years, the main drivers of inflation have been domestic supply shocks and shocks to exchange rate and monetary variables; but that, in recent years, the contribution of these shocks to inflation has fallen. Domestic demand pressures as well as global shocks, and particularly shocks to output, however, have played a larger role in driving inflation over the last decade. We also show that country characteristics matter—the extent of oil and food imports, vulnerability to weather shocks, economic importance of agriculture, trade openness and policy regime, among others, help in explaining the role of shocks.
International Monetary Fund
Over the past two decades, wide-ranging structural reforms, supported by prudent policies, have established Mauritius as a top regional performer. The Mauritian economy recovered in 2010. Real GDP growth is estimated to have accelerated to 4 percent (3 percent in 2009), driven by strong growth in fishing, ICT, and financial industries. Against the backdrop of the European debt crisis and a depreciating Euro in mid-2010, the government adopted a second stimulus package. Fiscal policy was less expansionary than originally envisaged.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

The October 2010 Regional Economic Outlook features: (i) an overview of economic developments and prospects in sub-Saharan Africa; (ii) an analytical assessment of how monetary policy changes are transmitted through the region's economies; and (iii) a study of why growth rates in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) have lagged behind other parts of sub-Saharan Africa. The overview highlights the broad-based economic recovery that is now under way in sub-Saharan Africa and projects growth of 5 percent in 2010 and 5½ percent in 2011. It explores the resilience of most economies in the region to the global financial crises of 2007-09 and explains why sound economic policy implementation and a growing orientation of trade toward Emerging Asia are expected to continue to underpin growth. The second chapter provides evidence suggesting that monetary policy may have more power to influence monetary conditions than previously assumed. Main messages from the WAEMU study are the importance of strong policy environments and political stability for achieving sustained growth; and of robust fiscal frameworks for directing resources towards priority spending needs.

Mr. Marc G Quintyn and Sophia Gollwitzer
This paper analyzes the institutional conditions affecting the establishment and effectiveness of independent central banks and of budgetary institutions. It draws on the recent theory developed by North, Wallis and Weingast on the transition from a closed and fragile state to an open economic and political environment. The paper presents a composite indicator allowing for the identification of a country’s position along this transition path. The findings suggest that (i) while the establishment of autonomous central banks seems to be relatively independent from the broader institutional framework, sound budgetary institutions tend to be established in countries with higher levels of rule of law for the elites, and (ii) while central bank independence is effective in reducing inflation irrespective of a country’s position along the transition path, budget institutions seem to be most effective as a disciplining device in weak institutional environments.
Mr. Robert M Burgess
This paper discusses initial performance of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Macroeconomic Convergence Program. The SADC’s regional economic integration agenda includes a macroeconomic convergence program, intended to achieve and maintain macroeconomic stability in the region, thereby contributing to faster economic growth and laying the basis for eventual monetary union. As macroeconomic performance in the SADC region has improved in recent years, most countries are making progress toward, and in many cases exceeding, the convergence criteria. Most SADC member states have recorded solid macroeconomic performance in recent years, in general coming close too, and in many cases surpassing, the convergence targets specified for 2008. A notable exception in this regard is Zimbabwe, which was in the grip of hyperinflation. The macroeconomic targets for later years are ambitious and, in some cases, warrant further evaluation, given that achieving the targets may be neither necessary nor enough to achieve good macroeconomic results.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Inflation, IMF work agenda, Food and fuel prices, Commodity price surge, Oil price surge, Jeddah meeting, Haiti interview, Norway's sovereign wealth fund, Mexico, Switzerland's monetary policy, Mauritius, News briefs.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper assesses the external competitiveness of Mauritius over the period 1980–2007, with particular attention to the most recent years. The paper estimates the equilibrium real exchange rate using the macroeconomic balance approach, the single-equation equilibrium exchange rate approach, and the capital-enhanced equilibrium exchange rate approach. A wealth of structural competitiveness indicators are also analyzed. The findings indicate that the real exchange rate at the end of 2007 was broadly in line with its equilibrium value.