Africa's Middle-Class Motor finds growing evidence that a recent resurgence in the continent's economic well-being has staying power. In his overview article, Harvard professor Calestous Juma says the emphasis for too long has been on eradicating poverty through aid rather than promoting prosperity through improved infrastructure, education, entrepreneurship, and trade. That is now changing: there is a growing emphasis on policies that produce a middle class. The new African middle class may not have the buying power of a Western middle class but it demands enough goods and services to support stronger economic growth, which, as IMF African Department head Antoinette Sayeh points out, in turn helps the poorest members of society. Oxford University economist Paul Collier discusses a crucial component of Africa's needed infrastructure: railways. It is a continent eminently suited to rail, development of which has been held back more by political than economic reasons. But even as sub-Saharan African thrives, its largest and most important economy, South Africa, has had an anemic performance in recent years. We also profile Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria's colorful economic czar. "Picture This" mines current trends to predict what Africa will look like a half century from now and "Data Spotlight" looks at increased regional trade in Africa. Elsewhere, Cornell Professor Eswar Prasad, examines a global role reversal in which emerging, not advanced, economies are displaying resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. The University of Queensland's John Quiggin, who wrote Zombie Economics, examines whether it makes sense in many cases to sell public enterprises. Economists Raghuram Rajan of the University of Chicago and Rodney Ramcharan of the U.S. Federal Reserve find clues to current asset booms and busts in the behavior of U.S. farmland prices a century ago.
Mr. Paolo Mauro, Mr. Herve Joly, Mr. Ari Aisen, Mr. Emre Alper, Mr. Francois Boutin-Dufresne, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Mr. Nikoloz Gigineishvili, Mr. Tom Josephs, Ms. Clara Mira, Mr. Vimal V Thakoor, Mr. Alun H. Thomas, and Mr. Fan Yang
This paper takes stock of the main fiscal risks facing the EAC partner countries. These include macroeconomic shocks, and specific risks, such as the financial performance of the public enterprises, large infrastructure projects, PPPs, and pension funds. In addition, weaknesses in the institutional framework are reviewed. This analysis highlights some of the largest risks and begins to give a sense of the potential magnitudes involved.
The concomitant external shocks experienced in 2008-09 by the East African Community (EAC) countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda and stepped-up support by the IMF—including the SDR allocation—and other donors, are likely to arouse renewed interest in the question of the adequate level of international reserves. This paper discusses the evolution of reserve holdings in EAC countries and uses several tools for assessing reserve adequacy in the region. The analysis suggests that reserve levels in most cases seem to include safety buffers, and thus, do not require immediate action. However, the situation could become tighter if export recovery is delayed or export prices do not pick up. Over the medium term, the desirable reserve path should also be adapted to regional and international integration.
Mr. Paulo Drummond, Mr. Ari Aisen, Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Ejona Fuli, and Mr. Sébastien Walker
This paper examines how susceptible East African Community (EAC) economies are to asymmetric shocks, assesses the value of the exchange rate as a shock absorber for these countries, and reviews adjustment mechanisms that would help ensure a successful experience under a common currency. The report draws on analysis of recent experiences and examines likely future changes in the EAC economies.
Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Wenjie Chen, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Mr. Herve Joly, and Mr. Fan Yang
This paper assesses the extent of economic and financial integration among the East African Community (EAC) along a number of dimensions and, where possible, whether integration has increased in the wake of the major regional integration policy milestones.
This paper focuses on Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS) 2013–2018 for Rwanda. Ownership of the EDPRS by a wide range of stakeholders at national level has been a key factor of success. The EDPRS 2 has integrated inclusiveness and sustainability as driving factors in elaborating the strategy. Community-based solutions, working closely with the population, have made possible fast-track and cost-effective implementation and increased demand for accountability, in education with the 9YBE construction of classrooms, the Crop Intensification Program in agriculture, and community-based health care programs.
The Selected Issues paper for Uganda and Rwanda discusses the impact of rising international food and fuel prices on inflation. Unlike in the case of fuel-producing countries, the East African Community countries are major agricultural producers, with agriculture accounting for 20 percent to 40 percent of their GDP. The two most important factors limiting the pass-through of world food commodities are therefore the high degree of self-sufficiency in the production of main tradable food commodities and their relative insulation from international markets.
The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper II (PRSP-II) examines the major development challenges faced by Burundi. The paper identifies achievements in areas such as security and governance, but draws attention to the below-par performance in overall economic growth and development. The primary reasons for the lack of development have been cited in the report. The four major strategic pillars of the PRSP-II provide a road-map for achieving the goals and objectives enunciated to put Burundi on the path toward sustainable development.
Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura, Mr. Anupam Basu, and Mr. Anthony E Calamitsis
This paper analyzes the factors affecting economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa, using data for 1981–97. The results indicate that per capita real GDP growth is positively influenced by economic policies that raise the ratio of private investment to GDP, promote human capital development, lower the ratio of the budget deficit to GDP, safeguard external competitiveness, and stimulate export volume growth. The favorable evolution of these variables played an important role in the region’s apparent postreform recovery of 1995–97. The paper also discusses a policy framework to promote sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty in sub-Saharan Africa