Front Matter

Front Matter

Jean-Pierre Briffaut, George Iden, Peter Hayward, Tonny Lybek, Hassanali Mehran, Piero Ugolini, and Stephen Swaray
Published Date:
October 1998
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© 1998 International Monetary Fund

Production: IMF Graphics Section

Typesetting: Choon Lee and Ashok Kumar

Figures: Sanaa Elaroussi

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Financial sector development in Sub-Saharan African countries / by

Hassanali Mehran… [et al.].—Washington DC: International Monetary Fund, [1998].

p. cm.—(Occasional paper, ISSN 0251–6365 ; no. 169)

Includes bibliographical references (p.).

ISBN 1–55775-758–5

1. Financial institutions—Africa, Sub-Saharan. I. Mehran, Hassanali.

II. Series : Occasional Paper (International Monetary Fund); No. 169.

HG187.5.A357F667 1998

332.1'0967—dc21 98–41340


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The following symbols have been used throughout this paper:

  • … to indicate that data are not available;

  • — to indicate that the figure is zero or less than half the final digit shown, or that the item does not exist;

  • – between years or months (e.g., 1994–95 or January–June) to indicate the years or months covered, including the beginning and ending years or months;

  • / between years (e.g., 1994/95) to indicate a crop or fiscal (financial) year.

“Billion” means a thousand million.

Minor discrepancies between constituent figures and totals are due to rounding.

The term “country,” as used in this paper, does not in all cases refer to a territorial entity that is a state as understood by international law and practice; the term also covers some territorial entities that are not states, but for which statistical data are maintained and provided internationally on a separate and independent basis.


At its meeting in Lyon, France, in June 1996, the seven major industrial countries announced the Initiative on Global Partnership for Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa (the Africa Initiative). The initiative establishes a partnership between the international community and sub-Saharan African countries geared toward assisting these countries to participate fully in the expansion of global prosperity and to spread the benefits of globalization throughout their societies. The overall strategy underlying the initiative emphasizes trade and investment, the mobilization of global private capital flows, and the buildup of human resources. One element of the strategy is to build a healthy and competitive financial sector capable of mobilizing substantially higher levels of savings and improving banking and financial supervision standards to ensure stability.

Within the context of the partnership, the IMF’s Monetary and Exchange Affairs Department (MAE) has undertaken this study to determine the status of the financial sector in 32 sub-Saharan African countries and to make recommendations to assist them to sustain and accelerate the modernization of the sector that is currently under way in many of them. Following the work that has already been undertaken on various elements of financial sector reform in Africa by the IMF and the World Bank, in particular, this report presents a broad picture of trends in financial sector reform in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole and provides comprehensive information that will enable the IMF in collaboration with the World Bank and other international institutions to better support these countries in their reform programs.

Since the study involved many cross-country comparisons, for purposes of data consistency, a cut-off date of end-December 1997 has been applied. The bulk of the information in the tables, therefore, covers up to that period, although in a few cases, particularly when more up-to-date information is not available, the data have been provided for periods earlier than end-1997. These are, however, appropriately indicated in footnotes.

The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of staff of the African and Policy Development and Review Departments toward the completion of this project, in particular, John Boorman, Evangelos Calamitsis, Anupam Basu, and Ernesto Hernández-Catá for their useful insights and support of the study, and Sergio Leite and G.G. Johnson for coordinating comments from the African Department. The authors are also grateful to Pascal Bouvier, former Advisor in the MAE Department, who worked closely with the staff team by providing information and comments on the French- and Portuguese-speaking countries of Africa included in the study; and the staff of MAE, in particular, Manuel Guitián, William Alexander, Tomás Baliño, Charles Enoch, R. Barry Johnston, Alfredo Leone, Carl-Johan Lindgren, and Elizabeth Milne for useful comments and a general willingness to exchange views. The authors would also like to thank MAE experts both in the field and at headquarters for providing specific information relating to their areas of expertise, especially Fulvio Carbonaro, John Dalton, Fernando de Peralto, Nicholas Roberts, and John Tait; and the Reserve Bank of South Africa for useful information on the countries of the Southern African Development Community. Finally, the authors would like to thank Elena Budreckaite, Anna Maripuu, and Kiran Sastry for excellent research assistance; and Severina De Biasi-Campanella, Karen Randrup, and Frances Atchison for excellent word processing services. Elisa Diehl of the IMF’s External Relations Department edited the manuscript and coordinated production.

The views expressed in this paper, as well as any errors, are the sole responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Executive Directors of the IMF or other members of the staff.

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