This Selected Issues paper examines the impact of scaled-up public investment in Burkina Faso. The results suggest that “big-push” investment efforts, while designed to accelerate growth, are likely to run up against significant absorption-capacity constraints. These constraints will diminish the efficiency of investment spending and result in lower public capital accumulation and productivity growth than under a more measured approach. The empirical evidence from the experience of many countries also suggests that the results of aggressive scaling-up initiatives are mixed.
This supplement presents country case studies reviewing country experiences with managing wage bill pressures, which are the basis for the compensation and employment reform lessons identified in the main paper. The selection of countries for the case studies reflects past studies carried out by either the IMF or the World Bank in the context of technical assistance or bilateral surveillance (Table 1). These studies provide important insights into the different sources of wage bill pressures as well as the reform challenges governments have faced when addressing these pressures over the short and medium term. The studies cover 20 countries, including five advanced economies, six countries from sub-Saharan Africa, two countries in developing Asia, one country in the Middle East and North Africa, three countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, and three countries in Central and Eastern Europe and the CIS. The structure of each case study is similar, with each study starting with a presentation of the institutional coverage and framework for setting and managing the wage bill; a description of employment and compensation levels, including their comparison with the private sector; and a discussion of the challenges that motivated the need for reforms and, when applicable, the reforms implemented and lessons derived from these.
A major element of the persistent fiscal imbalances in Guinea-Bissau is the relatively low level of revenue compared with other sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. Fiscal revenues, including grants, trended downward significantly in Guinea-Bissau from 1991 through 2005, especially during the last five years. Nontax revenues are stagnant as a proportion of GDP as a result of weak fisheries administration and control. Tax revenues as a proportion of GDP are relatively low in Guinea-Bissau even compared with other low-income countries.
This paper presents four commentaries by an IMF Deputy Managing Director on integration and growth in a globalized world economy. Globalized and integrated financial markets are the norm, complete with their tremendous opportunities—the chance to quicken the pace of investment, job creation, and growth—and, some inevitable risks. The paper also highlights that sound macroeconomic policies must be a top priority, and that these policies must be supported by transparency and accountability. Policies at the country and global level must be mutually reinforcing; industrial countries meeting the more outward-oriented policies of developing countries with greater openness around the world. It is recommended that the IMF agenda must include adopting bold structural reforms and building a social consensus for reform through economic security, good governance, and a better dialogue with civil society in Africa. In the Berlin address, it is suggested that development rests on three pillars: good economic policy, a favorable legal and political environment, and attention to equitable social development.
This paper assesses a decade of experience in civil service reform in a sample of 32 sub-Saharan African countries. Many countries have made an important start towards reducing excessive staffing levels and the nominal wage bill, but less progress has been made in decompressing salary differentials in favor of higher-grade staff. In the CFA franc zone countries, real wages fell sharply after the 1994 devaluation, but the wage bill relative to tax revenue is still high in many countries. There is a need to consolidate quantitative first-generation reforms that contribute to macroeconomic stabilization. Equally important is the need to make progress on qualitative second-generation reforms, especially remuneration and promotion policies that reward performance and measures to improve civil service management. Such policies will require strong political commitment by governments.