This book describes the reforms needed to move small middle-income countries in sub-Saharan Africa to advanced-economy status. The result of intense discussions with public officials in the countries covered, the book blends rigorous theory, econometrics, and practitioners' insights to come up with practical recommendations for policymakers. It spans topics from macroeconomic vulnerability and reserve adequacy to labor market institutions and financial inclusion. The book is a must-read for researchers interested in the economic issues facing developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Aidar Abdychev, La-Bhus Fah Jirasavetakul, Mr. Andrew W Jonelis, Mr. Lamin Y Leigh, Ashwin Moheeput, Friska Parulian, Ara Stepanyan, and Albert Touna Mama
Many small middle-income countries (SMICs) in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have experienced a moderation in growth in recent years. Although factor accumulation, most notably capital deepening, was crucial to the success of many SMICs historically, this growth model appears to have run its course. The analysis in this paper suggests that the decline in the contribution of total factor productivity (TFP) to growth is largely responsible for the slowdown in trend growth in many SMICs, which highlights the need for policy actions to reinvigorate productivity growth. This paper explores the question of what kind of structural policies could boost productivity growth in SMICs and the political economy factors that may be contributing to the slow implementation of these critical reforms in these countries. The findings suggest that although macroeconomic stability and trade openness are necessary for productivity growth, they are not sufficient. SMICs need to improve the quality of their public spending, most notably in education to minimize the skill mismatch in the labor market, reduce the regulatory burden on firms, improve access to finance by small and medium-sized enterprises and create the enabling environment to facilitate structural transformation in these economies.
This Selected Issues paper analyzes policies that can raise potential growth in small middle-income countries (SMICs) of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). The findings suggest that although macroeconomic stability and trade openness are necessary for productivity growth, they are not sufficient. SMICs in SSA need to improve the quality of their public spending, most notably on education, to solve the problem of skill mismatch in the labor market, reduce the regulatory burden on firms, improve access to financing by small and medium-size enterprises, and pave the way for structural transformation in these economies. Given the short-term cost of these reforms, the timing and sequencing of reforms and the role of quick wins is important for their implementation. In some cases, a social bargain can be a mechanism to generate consensus around a package of mutually reinforcing reforms.
Mr. Brou E Aka, Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Amor Tahari, and Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura
Analysis of 1960-2002 data shows that average real GDP growth in sub-Saharan Africa was low and decelerated continuously before starting to recover in the second part of the 1990s. Growth was driven primarily by factor accumulation with little role for total factor productivity (TFP) growth. The recent pickup in economic growth was accompanied by an increase in TFP growth, namely in the group of countries whose IMF-supported programs were judged to be on track. Average annual growth in the region, at 3½ percent during 1997-2002, is less than half of the estimated growth needed to halve the fraction of population living below $1 per day between 1990 and 2015, one of the Millennium Development Goals.