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Mr. Rodrigo Garcia-Verdu, Alexis Meyer-Cirkel, Akira Sasahara, and Hans Weisfeld
This paper estimates agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) in 162 countries between 1991 and 2015 and aims to understand sources of cross-country variations in agricultural TFP levels and its growth rates. Two factors affecting agricultural TFP are analyzed in detail – imported intermediate inputs and climate. We first show that these two factors are independently important in explaining agricultural TFP – imported inputs raise agricultural TFP; and higher temperatures and rainfall shortages impede TFP growth, particularly in low-income countries (LICs). We also provide a new evidence that, within LICs, those with a higher import component of intermediate inputs seem to be more shielded from the negative impacts of weather shocks.
Ms. Alina Carare, Bertrand Candelon, Jean-Baptiste Hasse, and Jing Lu
This study expands the empirical specification of Cerra and Saxena (2008), and allows short-term output growth regimes to be determined by globalization. Relying on a non-linear dynamic panel representation, it reconciles the earlier results in the literature regarding the two opposite narratives of the effects of globalization on output growth. Countries experience higher growth, on average, the more open and integrated they are into the world. However, once they reach a certain globalization threshold (endogenously estimated), countries may also experience a new normal, persistently lower short-term output growth following a financial crisis. The benefits, as well as vulnerabilities, accrue earlier in the globalization process for low- and middle-income countries. To solely reap the globalization benefits on growth, sound policies should be in place to mitigate the negative effects stemming from increased vulnerabilities brought by globalization.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Economic conditions in sub-Saharan Africa have remained generally robust despite a sluggish global economy. The near-term outlook for the region remains broadly positive, and growth is projected at 5¼ percent a year in 2012-13. Most low-income countries are projected to continue to grow strongly, supported by domestic demand, including from investment. The outlook is less favorable for many of the middle-income countries, especially South Africa, that are more closely linked to European markets and thus experience a more noticeable drag from the external environment. The main risks to the outlook are an intensification of financial stresses in the euro zone and a sharp fiscal adjustment in the US--the so-called fiscal cliff.

International Monetary Fund
This paper studies the impact of the level and volatility of the commodity terms of trade on economic growth, as well as on the three main growth channels: total factor productivity, physical capital accumulation, and human capital acquisition. We use the standard system GMM approach as well as a cross-sectionally augmented version of the pooled mean group (CPMG) methodology of Pesaran et al. (1999) for estimation. The latter takes account of cross-country heterogeneity and cross-sectional dependence, while the former controls for biases associated with simultaneity and unobserved country-specific effects. Using both annual data for 1970-2007 and five-year non-overlapping observations, we find that while commodity terms of trade growth enhances real output per capita, volatility exerts a negative impact on economic growth operating mainly through lower accumulation of physical capital. Our results indicate that the negative growth effects of commodity terms of trade volatility offset the positive impact of commodity booms; and export diversification of primary commodity abundant countries contribute to faster growth. Therefore, we argue that volatility, rather than abundance per se, drives the "resource curse" paradox.
International Monetary Fund
The status report on the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) of the Central African Republic showed substantial progress. IMF staff welcomed peace and security consolidation and strong macroeconomic framework under the economic program. They emphasized the need for strengthening the linkages between some of the sectoral and national strategies. They stressed the need for a strategy for monitoring and evaluation of the system, and financing to implement the strategy. They concur that success of the PRSP will be a challenge amidst security issues and financial constraints.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

The five Regional Economic Outlooks published biannually by the IMF cover Asia and Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Western Hemisphere. In each volume, recent economic developments and prospects for the region are discussed as a whole, as well as for specific countries. The reports include key data for countries in the region. Each report focuses on policy developments that have affected economic performance in the region, and discusses key challenges faced by policymakers. The near-term outlook, key risks, and their related policy challenges are analyzed throughout the reports, and current issues are explored, such as when and how to withdraw public interventions in financial systems globally while maintaining a still-fragile economic recovery.These indispensable surveys are the product of comprehensive intradepartmental reviews of economic developments that draw primarily on information the IMF staff gathers through consultation with member countries.

Mr. Kevin J Carey, Mr. Sanjeev Gupta, and Ms. Catherine A Pattillo

Abstract

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has recently shown signs of improvement, but is still short of levels needed to attain the Millennium Development Goals. Economists have placed increasing emphasis on understanding the policies that promote sustained jumps in medium-term growth, and the paper applies this approach to African countries. The evidence presented finds an important growth-supporting role for particular kinds of institutions and policies, but also highlights aspects of growth that are still not well understood. The paper includes policy guidance for ensuring that the poor benefit from growth.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa Prepared by the Policy Wing of the IMF African Department, this first, annual issue of Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa analyzes economic, trade, and institutional issues in 2004, and prospects in 2005, for the 42 countries covered by the Department (for data reasons, Eritrea and Liberia are excluded). Topics examined include responses to exogenous shocks, growth performance and growth-enhancing policies, and the effectiveness of regional trade arrangements. Detailed aggregate and country data (as of February 24, 2005) are provided in an appendix and a statistical appendix, and a list of relevant publications by the African Department is included.

International Monetary Fund
The first part of this paper lays out the process of program design and briefly describes some of the analytical tools--including the financial programming framework, the balance sheet approach, and the debt sustainability template--employed by Fund country teams in advising national authorities on policy formulation. The second part of paper seeks to assess how well this process works in practice.