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Hector Perez-Saiz, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Tunc Gursoy, and Mounir Bari
We propose a simple macroeconomic model with input-output sectoral linkages based on Acemoglu et al. (2016) to quantify how changes in aggregate demand due to additional income from household’s remittances propagates through the network of input-output linkages in Sub-Saharan African countries. We first propose two network centrality measures to assess the role of some sectors as key input providers in the economy. Then, we use these measures to quantify the effect of sectoral linkages on sectoral and total output following an increase in remittances inflows. Our empirical results suggest that the effects of remittances on recipient economies increase with the degree of linkages across sectors, which is especially prominent in the case of the financial intermediation sector. Our paper contributes to the emerging macroeconomic literature on the propagation of shocks across sectors and the implications for the whole economy.
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Jiro Honda, Hiroaki Miyamoto, Keyra Primus, and Mouhamadou Sy
How can Low-Income Countries (LICs) enhance tax revenue collection to finance their vast development needs? We address this question by analyzing seven tax reform experiences in LICs (Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Maldives, Mauritania, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda). Three lessons stand out, although reforms must be tailored to individual circumstances: (i) Tax reforms require first and foremost political commitment and buy-in from key stakeholders; (ii) Countries that pursue both revenue administration and tax policy reforms tend to see much larger and persistent gains; and (iii) A successful strategy often starts with fiscal reform measures with immediate effect to build momentum. These can include: simplifying the tax system; curbing exemptions; reforming indirect taxes on goods and services (e.g., excises); and better managing compliance risks through strengthening taxpayer segmentation (often beginning with strengthening the Large Taxpayers Office). A comprehensive reform strategy (e.g., a medium-term revenue strategy) can help to properly sequence reform measures and facilitate their implementation.
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Ms. Anja Baum, Clay Hackney, Olamide Harrison, Keyra Primus, and Ms. Veronique Salins
How do countries mobilize large tax revenue—defined as an average increase in the tax-to-GDP ratio of 0.5 percent per year over three years or more? To answer this question, we build a novel dataset covering 55 episodes of large tax revenue mobilization in low-income countries and emerging markets. We find that: (i) reforms of indirect taxes and exemptions are the most common tax policy measures; (ii) multi-pronged tax administration reforms often go hand in hand with tax policy measures or are stand alone; and (iii) sustainability of the episodes hinges on tax administration reforms in the key compliance areas (risk-based audits, registration, filing, payment, and reporting).
Mr. Slavi T Slavov
There are 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) with floating exchange rate regimes, de jure. Some target the money supply or the inflation rate; others practice "managed floating." Statistical analysis on monthly data for the past decade reveals that in most cases these exchange rate regimes can be approximated surprisingly well by a soft peg to a basket dominated by the US dollar. The weight on the dollar appears to have fallen somewhat across the continent in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Replicating the model with weekly data for The Gambia suggests that the focus on the dollar might be even more pronounced at higher data frequencies. While there might be strong arguments in favor of limiting exchange rate volatility in SSA countries, soft-pegging to the dollar does not appear to be the best fit for them, given the currency structure of their external trade and finance. The paper concludes by discussing some policy options for SSA countries with flexible exchange rates, in the context of an illustrative recent country case.
Eugen Tereanu
This paper applies intertemporal models of precautionary saving to compute an optimal level of international reserves for The Gambia. The analysis focuses on current account shocks specific to a low-income economy with a significant import component and complements a more standard, rule-of-thumb reserve adequacy assessment. The results suggest a central range from 4.5 months to 7 months of imports, which is broadly aligned with the recent actual coverage. Notwithstanding parameter sensitivity, the simulations allow for more informed policy decisions that balance flexibility with a prudent approach to reserve use.
Olatundun Janet Adelegan and Bozena Radzewicz-Bak
This study empirically analyzes the determinants of bond market development in a cross section of 23 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries between 1990 and 2008. It considers the stage of development and the size of the bond market, as well as the historical, structural, institutional and macroeconomic factors driving bond market development in SSA. The study finds that the savings constraint is a key impediment to domestic bond markets development as well as financial market deepening, as it results in a low level of financial intermediation by the banks. Overall, the results show that a confluence of factors matters for the development of domestic bond markets in SSA; these include structure of the economy, investment profile, law and order, size of the banking sector, the level of economic development, and various macroeconomic factors. Policy implications include increased efforts to strengthen the investment environment and the need for a regional approach to bond market development.
Mr. Subramanian S Sriram
This paper evaluates the demand for broad money (M2) in The Gambia for January 1988-June 2007. There appears to be a long-run relationship for demand for real M2, but the relationship is not stable. Exogenous output shocks, financial innovation, changes in income velocity, and inadequate data quality contribute to the instability. The authorities may need to apply the monetary targeting regime flexibly in the overall objective of preserving price stability. A possible option for The Gambia is to become an inflation targeter lite.
Miss Mahvash S Qureshi and Mr. Charalambos G Tsangarides
Applying techniques of clustering analysis to a set of variables suggested by the convergence criteria and the theory of optimal currency areas, this paper looks for country homogeneities to assess membership in the existing and proposed monetary unions of the broader west African region. Our analysis reveals considerable dissimilarities in the economic characteristics of the countries in west and central Africa. In particular, the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ) countries do not form a cluster with the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries; and, within the WAMZ, there is a significant lack of homogeneity. Furthermore, when west and central African countries are considered together, we find significant heterogeneities within the CFA franc zone, and some interesting similarities between the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) and WAMZ countries. Overall, our findings raise some questions about the geographical boundaries of several existing and proposed monetary unions.
Mr. Jakob E Christensen
This study discusses the role of domestic debt markets in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) based on a new dataset covering 27 SSA countries during the 20-year period 1980-2000. The study finds that domestic debt markets in these countries are generally small, highly short-term in nature, and often have a narrow investor base. Domestic interest payments pr