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International Monetary Fund

This Selected Issues paper on the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) reviews the evolution of actual and equilibrium real effective exchange rates (REER). The current level of the CEMAC REER is broadly in line with its long-term equilibrium value. The estimation approach herein is subject to certain limitations, some of which are inherent to the literature that tries to estimate the equilibrium REERs. Absolute statements about magnitudes of any possible misalignments should be avoided given the degree of model uncertainty; error bands around estimated equilibrium exchange rates may, in some cases, yield inconclusive results.

Mr. Christian H Ebeke and Mr. Constant A Lonkeng Ngouana
This paper shows that high energy subsidies and low public social spending can emerge as an equilibrium outcome of a political game between the elite and the middle-class when the provision of public goods is subject to bottlenecks, reflecting weak domestic institutions. We test this and other predictions of our model using a large cross-section of emerging markets and low-income countries. The main empirical challenge is that subsidies and social spending could be jointly determined (e.g., at the time of the budget), leading to a simultaneity bias in OLS estimates. To address this concern, we adopt an identification strategy whereby subsidies in a given country are instrumented by the level of subsidies in neighboring countries. Our Instrumental Variable (IV) estimations suggest that public expenditures in education and health were on average lower by 0.6 percentage point of GDP in countries where energy subsidies were 1 percentage point of GDP higher. Moreover, we find that the crowding-out was stronger in the presence of weak domestic institutions, narrow fiscal space, and among the net oil importers.
Mr. Joannes Mongardini and Mr. Alexander Chudik
This paper presents a methodology to estimate equilibrium real exchange rates (ERER) for Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries using both single-country and panel estimation techniques. The limited data set hinders single-country estimation for most countries in the sample, but panel estimates are statistically and economically significant, and generally robust to different estimation techniques. The results replicate well the historical experience for a number of countries in the sample. Panel techniques can also be used to derive out of sample estimates for countries with a more limited data set.
Mr. Robert C York and Ms. Misa Takebe
In the extensive empirical work carried out across the IMF on oil-producing sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, the notion of "sustainability" is often directed toward fiscal policies, and, in particular, views on the "optimal" non-oil primary fiscal deficit. The bulk of this work does not, however, address external sustainability, which is a concern especially for those SSA oil producers operating under a fixed exchange rate regime. A couple of recent papers have extended the existing methodologies to assess external sustainability for some oil-producing countries but they do not focus on those in sub-Saharan Africa. In this paper, we bolster this empirical work by providing a range of estimates for the long-run external current external account balance for each of the SSA oil-producing countries, based on three widely used methodologies in the IMF. Our research strategy is to apply these models to the eight countries in the subregion - Angola, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, and the Republic of Congo - using similar simplifying assumptions so that we are using the same lens to view how they do and do not differ.