This Selected Issues paper describes external balance assessment in Angola. Angola’s external balance appears sustainable under current assumptions regarding the evolution of oil prices and output/exports, but the economy’s lack of diversification implies that it remains highly vulnerable to declines in the oil price and disruptions in oil production. Moreover, to the extent that the commercial viability of future oil production from the pre-salt deposits is still uncertain, risks to oil output are on the downside. Given the high pass-through of the nominal exchange rate to prices, improving competitiveness should focus on measures to improve the country’s business climate and infrastructure. The assessment of reserve adequacy shows that international reserves are currently adequate for precautionary purposes, but the high (although declining) level of dollarization in the financial system implies that a higher benchmark is appropriate; staff sees limited scope for drawing down reserves.
Mr. Andrew Berg, Mr. Rafael A Portillo, Ms. Susan S. Yang, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
Natural resource revenues provide a valuable source to finance public investment in developing countries, which frequently face borrowing constraints and tax revenue mobilization problems. This paper develops a dynamic stochastic small open economy model to analyze the macroeconomic effects of investing natural resource revenues, making explicit the role of pervasive features in these countries including public investment inefficiency, absorptive capacity constraints, Dutch disease, and financing needs to sustain capital. Revenue exhaustibility raises medium-term issues of how to sustain capital built during a windfall, while revenue volatility raises short-term concerns about macroeconomic instability. Using the model, country applications show how combining public investment with a resource fund---a sustainable investing approach---can help address the macroeconomic problems associated with both exhaustibility and volatility. The applications also demonstrate how the model can be used to determine the appropriate magnitude of the investment scaling-up (accounting for the financing needs to sustain capital) and the adequate size of a stabilization fund (buffer).
Manoj Atolia, Bin Grace Li, Ricardo Marto, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
Why do governments in developing economies invest in roads and not enough in schools? In the presence
of distortionary taxation and debt aversion, the different pace at which roads and schools contribute to
economic growth turns out to be central to this decision. Specifically, while costs are front-loaded for both
types of investment, the growth benefits of schools accrue with a delay. To put things in perspective, with
a “big push,” even assuming a large (15 percent) return differential in favor of schools, the government
would still limit the fraction of the investment scale-up going to schools to about a half. Besides debt
aversion, political myopia also turns out to be a crucial determinant of public investment composition. A
“big push,” by accelerating growth outcomes, mitigates myopia—but at the expense of greater risks to
fiscal and debt sustainability. Tied concessional financing and grants can potentially mitigate the adverse
effects of both debt aversion and political myopia.
Mr. Giovanni Melina, Ms. Susan S. Yang, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
This paper presents the DIGNAR (Debt, Investment, Growth, and Natural Resources) model, which can be used to analyze the debt sustainability and macroeconomic effects of public investment plans in resource-abundant developing countries. DIGNAR is a dynamic, stochastic model of a small open economy. It has two types of households, including poor households with no access to financial markets, and features traded and nontraded sectors as well as a natural resource sector. Public capital enters production technologies, while public investment is subject to inefficiencies and absorptive capacity constraints. The government has access to different types of debt (concessional, domestic and external commercial) and a resource fund, which can be used to finance public investment plans. The resource fund can also serve as a buffer to absorb fiscal balances for given projections of resource revenues and public investment plans. When the fund is drawn down to its minimal value, a combination of external and domestic borrowing can be used to cover the fiscal gap in the short to medium run. Fiscal adjustments through tax rates and government non-capital expenditures—which may be constrained by ceilings and floors, respectively—are then triggered to maintain debt sustainability. The paper illustrates how the model can be particularly useful to assess debt sustainability in countries that borrow against future resource revenues to scale up public investment.
Despite the rapid increase in FDI flows to LICs, there have been relatively few studies that have specifically examined these flows. This paper attempts to partially fill the void by throwing light on one particularly dynamic aspect of global FDI-flows from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs). The paper finds that official data sources undoubtedly underestimate the volume and scope of FDI flows as many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not always register their investment. As a result, while it is difficult to estimate accurately the growth impact of BRIC FDI, there is case study evidence that it is increasingly significant. Second, while initial investment, mostly by state-owned companies, has often been destined for natural resource industries, over time, investment has been spreading to agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries (e.g., telecommunications). Third, FDI from BRICs flows into many non resource-rich countries in LICs and plays a significant role in growth in those countries.
Mr. Paul Collier, Rick Van Der Ploeg, Michael Spence, and Anthony J. Venables
This paper addresses the efficient management of natural resource revenues in capital-scarce developing economies. It departs from usual prescriptions based on the permanent income hypothesis and argues that capital-scarce countries should prioritize domestic investment. Because revenue streams are highly volatile, governments should protect consumption from shocks by increasing it only cautiously. Volatility in domestic investment can be moderated by a buffer of international liquidity, but it is also important to structure investment processes to be able to cope efficiently with substantial fluctuations. To date, most of the resource-rich countries of Africa have not had investment rates commensurate with their rate of resource extraction.