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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

The macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa continues to strengthen. Growth is expected to increase from 2.7 percent in 2017 to 3.1 percent in 2018, reflecting domestic policy adjustments and a supportive external environment, including continued steady growth in the global economy, higher commodity prices, and accommodative external financing conditions. Inflation is abating; and fiscal imbalances are being contained in many countries. Over the medium term, and on current policies, growth is expected to accelerate to about 4 percent, too low to create the number of jobs needed to absorb anticipated new entrants into labor markets.

Mr. Rabah Arezki, Mr. Christian Bogmans, and Mr. Harris Selod
This paper is the first to provide both theoretical and empirical evidence of farmland globalization whereby international investors directly acquire large tracts of agricultural land in other countries. A theoretical framework explains the geography of farmland acquisitions as a function of cross-country differences in technology, endowments, trade costs, and land governance. An empirical test of the model using global data on transnational deals shows that international farmland investments are on the aggregate likely motivated by re-exports to investor countries rather than to world markets. This contrasts with traditional foreign direct investment patterns where horizontal as opposed to vertical FDI dominates.
International Monetary Fund
The 2009 reforms have broadly achieved their objective of closing gaps and creating a streamlined architecture of facilities that is better tailored to the diverse needs of LICs. Supported by the financing package to boost the PRGT’s lending capacity for 2009–14 and the accompanying doubling of access, the Fund was able to mount an effective response to LICs’ needs during the global financial crisis.
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.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila and Ms. Misa Takebe
Despite the rapid increase in FDI flows to LICs, there have been relatively few studies that have specifically examined these flows. This paper attempts to partially fill the void by throwing light on one particularly dynamic aspect of global FDI-flows from Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs). The paper finds that official data sources undoubtedly underestimate the volume and scope of FDI flows as many small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not always register their investment. As a result, while it is difficult to estimate accurately the growth impact of BRIC FDI, there is case study evidence that it is increasingly significant. Second, while initial investment, mostly by state-owned companies, has often been destined for natural resource industries, over time, investment has been spreading to agriculture, manufacturing, and service industries (e.g., telecommunications). Third, FDI from BRICs flows into many non resource-rich countries in LICs and plays a significant role in growth in those countries.
International Monetary Fund. Research Dept.
The Q&A in this issue features seven questions about policy options for emerging market countries (by Marcos Chamon, Chris Crowe, and Jun Il Kim); research summaries on “Does Trade and Financial Globalization Cause Income Inequality?” (by Chris Papageorgiou) and “The Current Account of Oil-Exporting Countries (by Irineu E. de Carvalho Filho); an article on the launch of the IMF’s new research journal, IMF Economic Review, and the contents of the upcoming IMF Staff Papers, which the new the new journal will succeed in 2010; an article on the upcoming Tenth Annual Jacques Polak Research Conference; a listing of visiting scholars at the IMF during July–September 2009; and listings of recent IMF Working Papers and Staff Position Notes.
Mr. Robert M Burgess
This paper discusses initial performance of the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Macroeconomic Convergence Program. The SADC’s regional economic integration agenda includes a macroeconomic convergence program, intended to achieve and maintain macroeconomic stability in the region, thereby contributing to faster economic growth and laying the basis for eventual monetary union. As macroeconomic performance in the SADC region has improved in recent years, most countries are making progress toward, and in many cases exceeding, the convergence criteria. Most SADC member states have recorded solid macroeconomic performance in recent years, in general coming close too, and in many cases surpassing, the convergence targets specified for 2008. A notable exception in this regard is Zimbabwe, which was in the grip of hyperinflation. The macroeconomic targets for later years are ambitious and, in some cases, warrant further evaluation, given that achieving the targets may be neither necessary nor enough to achieve good macroeconomic results.
Ali Alichi and Mr. Rabah Arezki
The paper provides an alternative explanation for the "resource curse" based on the income effect resulting from high government current spending in resource rich economies. Using a simple life cycle framework, we show that private investment in the non-resource sector is adversely affected if private agents expect extra government current spending financed through resource sector revenues in the future. This income channel of the resource curse is stronger for countries with lower degrees of openness and forward altruism. We empirically validate these findings by estimating non-hydrocarbon sector growth regressions using a panel of 25 oil-exporting countries over 1992-2005.