Although the impact of the global crisis has been severe, real per capita GDP growth stayed positive in two-thirds of low-income countries (LICs), unlike in previous global downturns, and in contrast to richer countries. Emerging from the Global Crisis explores how LICS have coped with the global economic crisis. It reviews the impact of the crisis on LICs, domestic policy responses to the crisis, and the precrisis conditions of select countries. The prospects and challenges that LICs face are also considered. Sections of the paper look at growth prospects, policy recommendations, the general macroeconomic outlook, as well as the rebuilding of fiscal buffers. The authors also "stress-test" LICs' exposure to further volatility by using a hypothetical "downside" recovery scenario.
The East African Community (EAC) countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda) have been affected by the global financial crisis and global recession. The fall in global demand and inflows and tighter liquidity conditions abroad affected the countries in this region as elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. But how hard have countries in the EAC been hit? Have the spillovers from the global crisis affected countries in the region as much as other countries in the sub-Saharan region? Have the transmission channels or magnitudes of the spillovers been different across EAC countries? How can these countries return quickly to a path of sustained high growth? What is the role for policy? Would acceleration of regional integration and policy coordination help achieve this goal? Would it make the region less susceptible to shocks? This paper focus on the EAC countries and attempts to address these questions.
Hites Ahir, Hendre Garbers, Mattia Coppo, Mr. Giovanni Melina, Mr. Futoshi Narita, Ms. Filiz D Unsal, Vivian Malta, Xin Tang, Daniel Gurara, Luis-Felipe Zanna, Linda G. Venable, Mr. Kangni R Kpodar, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
Despite strong economic growth since 2000, many low-income countries (LICs) still face numerous macroeconomic challenges, even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the deceleration in real GDP growth during the 2008 global financial crisis, LICs on average saw 4.5 percent of real GDP growth during 2000 to 2014, making progress in economic convergence toward higher-income countries. However, the commodity price collapse in 2014–15 hit many commodity-exporting LICs and highlighted their vulnerabilities due to the limited extent of economic diversification. Furthermore, LICs are currently facing a crisis like no other—COVID-19, which requires careful policymaking to save lives and livelihoods in LICs, informed by policy debate and thoughtful research tailored to the COVID-19 situation. There are also other challenges beyond COVID-19, such as climate change, high levels of public debt burdens, and persistent structural issues.
Mr. Niko A Hobdari, Vina Nguyen, Mr. Salvatore Dell'Erba, and Mr. Edgardo Ruggiero
Fiscal decentralization is becoming a pressing issue in a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, reflecting demands for a greater local voice in spending decisions and efforts to strengthen social cohesion. Against this backdrop, this paper seeks to distill the lessons for an effective fiscal decentralization reform, focusing on the macroeconomic aspects. The main findings for sub-Saharan African countries that have decentralized, based on an empirical analysis and four case studies (Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda), are as follows: • Determinants and effectiveness: Empirical results suggest that (1) the major driving forces behind fiscal decentralization in sub-Saharan Africa include efforts to defuse ethnic conflicts, the initial level of income, and the urban-ization rate, whereas strength of democracy is not an important determi-nant for decentralization; and (2) decentralization in sub-Saharan Africa is associated with higher growth in the presence of stronger institutions.
• Spending assignments: The allocation of spending across levels of gov-ernment in the four case studies is broadly consistent with best practice. However, in Uganda, unlike in the other three case studies, subnational governments have little flexibility to make spending decisions as a result of a deconcentrated rather than a devolved system of government.
• Own revenue: The assignment of taxing powers is broadly in line with best practice in the four case studies, with the bulk of subnational revenue coming from property taxes and from fees for local services. However, own revenues are a very small fraction of subnational spending, reflecting weak cadaster systems and a high level of informality in the economy.