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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Botswana entered the COVID-19 crisis with larger buffers than most countries, but significantly less than in the past. The country was contending with structural challenges, persistent negative external shocks and delays in adjustment that had already caused a significant weakening of international reserves coverage and the fiscal position amid high unemployment. The pandemic exacerbated these challenges causing a sharp GDP contraction, among the strongest in SSA and a widening in the current account deficit. Foreign exchange reserves dropped further, though still remaining well above adequate levels. The fiscal deficit widened significantly as the government sought to counter the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis, and implemented a sizeable public wage increase agreed in 2019. The deficit was financed partially by drawing down on the Government Investment Account.
Mr. Adil Mohommad
The employment impact of environmental policies is an important question for policy makers. We examine the effect of increasing the stringency of environmental policy across a broad set of policies on firms’ labor demand, in a novel identification approach using Worldscope data from 31 countries on firm-level CO2 emissions. Drawing on evidence from as many as 5300 firms over 15 years and the OECD environmental policy stringency (EPS) index, it finds that high emission-intensity firms reduce labor demand upon impact as EPS is tightened, whereas low emission-intensity firms increase labor demand, indicating a reallocation of employment. Moreover, tightening EPS during economic contractions appears to have a positive effect on employment, other things equal. Quantifications exercises show modest positive net changes in employment for market-based policies, and modest negative net changes for non-market policies (mainly emission quantity regulations) and for the combined aggregate EPS. Within market-based policies, the percent decline in employment in high-emission firms (correspondingly the increase in low-emission firms) for a unit change in a policy index is smallest (largest) for trading schemes (“green” certificates, and “white” certificates)—although stringency is not comparable across indices. Finally, the employment effects of EPS are not persistent.
Nicoletta Batini, Mario di Serio, Matteo Fragetta, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
This paper provides estimates of output multipliers for spending in clean energy and biodiversity conservation, as well as for spending on non-ecofriendly energy and land use activities. Using a new international dataset, we find that every dollar spent on key carbon-neutral or carbon-sink activities can generate more than a dollar’s worth of economic activity. Although not all green and non-ecofriendly expenditures in the dataset are strictly comparable due to data limitations, estimated multipliers associated with spending on renewable and fossil fuel energy investment are comparable, and the former (1.1-1.5) are larger than the latter (0.5-0.6) with over 90 percent probability. These findings survive several robustness checks and lend support to bottom-up analyses arguing that stabilizing climate and reversing biodiversity loss are not at odds with continuing economic advances.
Linxi Chen, Ding Ding, and Rui Mano
In late 2015, the Chinese authorities launched a policy to reduce capacity in the coal and steel industries under the wider effort of Supply-Side Structural Reforms. Around the same time, producer price inflation in China started to pick up strongly after being trapped in negative territory for more than fifty consecutive months. So what is behind this strong reflation—capacity cuts in coal and steel, or a strengthening of aggregate demand? Our empirical analyses indicate that a pickup in aggregate demand, possibly due to the government’s stimulus package in 2015-16, was the more important driver. Capacity cuts played a role in propping up coal and steel prices, explaining at most 40 percent of their price increase.
International Monetary Fund
The ending of the civil war has brought to the fore the need to reconstruct the Angolan economy and address the problem of widespread poverty. A strong medium-term fiscal adjustment effort, including a reduction of the National Bank of Angola's operational deficit, is needed. The government should pursue a much more prudent foreign borrowing policy to avoid a worsening of the external debt burden. A tighter macroeconomic policy accompanied by a decisive structural reform is needed to foster economic diversification, create employment opportunities, and increase productivity.
Mr. Bright E Okogu

Abstract

The world oil market has undergone a series of changes that have reduced the share of oil in the global energy balance and, with it, the influence of Middle Eastern oil exporters. In spite of oil’s loss of ground, however, Middle Eastern countries remain at the center of world oil developments. This paper focuses on the developments in the international oil market, the role of Middle Eastern countries therein, and the policy challenges arising from the dependency on oil.