Francisco Arizala, Mr. Matthieu Bellon, Ms. Margaux MacDonald, Mr. Montfort Mlachila, and Mustafa Yenice
After close to two decades of strong economic activity, overall growth in sub-Saharan Africa decelerated markedly in 2015–16 as the largest economies experienced negative or flat growth. Regional growth started recovering in 2017, but the question remains of how trends in the economies stuck in low gear will spill over to the countries that have maintained robust growth. This note illuminates the discussion by identifying growth spillover channels. The focus is on trade, banking, financial, remittance, investment, fiscal, and security channels, which are the most prominent and most likely to transmit growth trends across borders. In addition to bringing together findings from a broad array of existing research, the note identifies countries that are the most likely sources of regional spillovers and those that are most likely to be impacted, and provides estimates for the size of these channels. It finds that intraregional trade and remittance flows are an important channel for growth spillovers, while banking channels are less important but will remain a risk going forward. Finally, the note documents other important spillover channels through financial markets contagion, revenue-sharing arrangements in fiscal unions, commodity-pricing policies, corporate investment, and forced migration. The main takeaway is that the level of interdependence among sub-Saharan countries is higher than is generally assumed. Consequently, there is a need for additional emphasis on regional surveillance and spillover analysis, along with traditional bilateral surveillance.
Mr. Montfort Mlachila, Ahmat Jidoud, Ms. Monique Newiak, Bozena Radzewicz-Bak, and Ms. Misa Takebe
This paper discusses how sub-Saharan Africa’s financial sector developed in the past few decades, compared with other regions. Sub-Saharan African countries have made substantial progress in financial development over the past decade, but there is still considerable scope for further development, especially compared with other regions. Indeed, until a decade or so ago, the level of financial development in a large number of sub-Saharan African countries had actually regressed relative to the early 1980s. With the exception of the region’s middle-income countries, both financial market depth and institutional development are lower than in other developing regions. The region has led the world in innovative financial services based on mobile telephony, but there remains scope to increase financial inclusion further. The development of mobile telephone-based systems has helped to incorporate a large share of the population into the financial system, especially in East Africa. Pan-African banks have been a driver for homegrown financial development, but they also bring a number of challenges.
This paper examines Côte d’Ivoire’s growth experience and argues that the development of a manufacturing export sector, lower income inequality, and prudent fiscal policy would strengthen the sustainability of growth. This paper aims to draw lessons for Côte d’Ivoire based on experience of other comparable countries that are now emerging market economies. The financial sector could trigger a shock to the economy or reinforce impact on the real sector of nonfinancial shocks. The current economic conditions in Côte d’Ivoire offer a favorable opportunity to resolve the financial status of public entities facing difficulties and for banks to raise their capital buffers to absorb a possible rise of nonperforming loans in event of a growth shock.
Mr. Andrea F Presbitero, Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura, Mr. Olumuyiwa S Adedeji, and Lamin Njie
What determines the ability of low-income developing countries to issue bonds in international capital and what explains the spreads on these bonds? This paper examines these questions using a dataset that includes emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) that issued sovereign bonds at least once during the period 1995-2013 as well as those that did not. We find that an EMDE is more likely to issue a bond when, in comparison with non-issuing peers, it is larger in economic size, has higher per capita GDP, and has stronger macroeconomic fundamentals and government. Spreads on sovereign bonds are lower for countries with strong external and fiscal positions, as well as robust economic growth and government effectiveness. With regard to global factors, the results show that sovereign bond spreads are reduced in periods of lower market volatility.
KEY ISSUES Context. The region continued to experience strong growth in 2014, led by the continued economic expansion in Cote d’Ivoire. The outlook is for further strong growth, subject to a range of downward risks, in particular political instability ahead of upcoming elections in several countries, and security issues in Mali and Niger. With an elevated fiscal deficit exerting pressure on the balance of payments and the regional financial market, delays in fiscal consolidation or structural reforms pose the main medium-term risks. Policy recommendations: • Fiscal consolidation. Safeguarding external stability in the region will require governments to adhere to their budget deficit reduction plans while maintaining public investment efforts, which will require increasing tax revenue and controlling current expenditure. • Monetary policy. Macroeconomic conditions do not warrant a tightening of monetary policy at this juncture. However, if fiscal deficits do not decline as envisaged, the BCEAO should consider increasing its policy rates. In the mean time, the BCEAO should very closely follow the evolution of the macro-prudential risks flowing from its sharp increase in commercial bank refinancing. • Financial stability. The WAEMU authorities should enforce existing prudential rules and raise standards to international best practice. Ongoing reforms go in the right direction but need to be accelerated. • Structural transformation and regional integration. Policies to promote structural transformation should focus on addressing weaknesses, such as the lack of education and training, finance, and supportive regulatory environments. Countries should refrain from using the possibility to deviate from the common external tariff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in force since January 1, 2015, in order to protect the gains from regional integration in WAEMU.
This report examines macroeconomic developments and related vulnerabilities in low-income developing countries (LIDCs)—a group of 60 countries that have markedly different economic features to higher income countries and are eligible for concessional financing from both the IMF and the World Bank. Collectively, they account for about one-fifth of the world’s Population.
The financial system in the WAEMU remains largely bank-based. The banking sector comprises 106 banks and 13 financial institutions, which together hold more than 90 percent of the financial system’s assets (about 54 percent of GDP at end-2011). Five banks account for 50 percent of banking assets. The ownership structure of the sector is changing fast, with the rapid rise of foreign-owned (pan-African) banks. This contributes to higher competition but also rising heterogeneity in the banking system, with large and profitable cross-country groups competing with often weaker country-based (and sometime government-owned) banks. Nonbank financial institutions are developing quickly, notably insurance companies, but remain overall small. This paper presents a detailed analysis of the banking system.
Many countries in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have seen accelerated growth for an extended period of time since the mid-1990s, making a clear break with their long stagnant growth during the previous two decades. That said, the region faces significant challenges over the medium to long term, including reducing poverty, overcoming infrastructure bottlenecks, enhancing productivity and skill levels, and improving the business climate, among others. The banking sector remains underdeveloped in SSA, thus reducing its contribution to growth, although its limited integration with global financial markets helped countries weather adverse effects of the global financial crisis. It is imperative that the banking sector plays a more active role in SSA, in order to achieve sustainable growth led by the private sector. This paper, building on the recent literature on SSA, discusses the main features of the region’s growth and macroeconomic performance in recent years and the outlook for the coming years; it then reviews the main features of SSA banking systems and how they were affected by the global economic crisis, while flagging some factors that could influence financial sector developments in SSA in the period ahead.