The IMF Working Papers series is designed to make IMF staff research available to a wide audience. Almost 300 Working Papers are released each year, covering a wide range of theoretical and analytical topics, including balance of payments, monetary and fiscal issues, global liquidity, and national and international economic developments.
This study assesses the determinants of banking system efficiency in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and asks what, besides the degree of efficiency, explains the low level of financial development in the region. It uses stochastic frontier analysis to measure efficiency and a generalized method of moments system to explain financial development. SSA banks are found to be generally cost-efficient, but nonperforming loans undermine efficiency, which suggests that improvement in the regulatory and credit environments should improve efficiency. The political and the economic environment have held back financial development in SSA.