Many Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries, like Benin, have scaled up public investment during the last decade. Such a strategy contributed to the improvement of infrastructure, but also to a build-up of debt vulnerabilities. Looking forward, the planned fiscal consolidation will result in some restraint of public spending, and, in particular, public investment. In this context, maintaining or even raising the region’s economic growth will require an offset by the private sector. The analysis draws lessons from countries that have successfully transitioned from public investment to private investment-led growth using a global sample starting in the mid-1980s. These lessons highlight policies that have been crucial in fostering a rebound of private investment in the wake of a contraction of public investment. The analytical framework proposed by Hausman, Rodrik and Velasco (2005) is used to identify and classify such policies. Finally, the paper analyses how the identified policies could help Benin achieving a smooth transition from public to private sector-led growth.
This Selected Issues paper discusses a growth-at-risk (GaR) model which is used to compute a distribution of expected GDP growth for Benin. The model predicts growth rates of ~6.7 percent for 2019 and a range of 6.4–6.8 percent in the medium-term (depending on the specification). Risks to future growth are assessed to be tilted to the downside. 2019 GDP growth is estimated around 6.7 percent, on average, across several specifications. The model considers external factors (world trade, global financial conditions, trade policy uncertainty, and US consumer sentiment), country-specific exposures to external factors (commodity terms of trade and trade-partner growth), and domestic factors (domestic financial conditions, fiscal policy, and the exchange rate). The analysis reveals that growth projections estimated both for the median and mode are slightly higher conditioned on 2018 data, yet when expectations about 2019 are considered using World Economic Outlook projections they fall. Overall, risks seem to be tilted to the downside. Medium term growth is estimated at between 6.4 and 6.8 percent. Risks to growth remain tilted to the downside, yet less skewed than in the short term.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that Djibouti’s economic growth, driven by large investment projects, continued its rapid pace in 2014. Aggregate investment reached 44 percent of GDP in 2014 and is expected to peak at 57 percent in 2015–16. GDP growth is expected to rise from 6 percent in 2014 to about 6.5 percent in 2015–16 and to 7 percent in 2017–19. Inflation is projected at 3 percent in 2015 and about 3.5 percent in 2016–18 as a large amount of infrastructure spending increases the demand for housing and services. Central bank gross foreign assets are projected to remain strong, permitting full currency board coverage over the period 2015–20.
This paper looks at the empirical record whether big infrastructure and public capital drives have succeeded in accelerating economic growth in low-income countries. It looks at big long-lasting drives in public capital spending, as these were arguably clear and exogenous policy decisions. On average the evidence shows only a weak positive association between investment spending and growth and only in the same year, as lagged impacts are not significant. Furthermore, there is little evidence of long term positive impacts. Some individual countries may be exceptions to this general result, as for example Ethiopia in recent years, as high public investment has coincided with high GDP growth, but it is probably too early to draw definitive conclusions. The fact that the positive association is largely instantaneous argues for the importance of either reverse causality, as capital spending tends to be cut in slumps and increased in booms, or Keynesian demand effects, as spending boosts output in the short run. It argues against the importance of long term productivity effects, as these are triggered by the completed investments (which take several years) and not by the mere spending on the investments. In fact a slump in growth rather than a boom has followed many public capital drives of the past. Case studies indicate that public investment drives tend eventually to be financed by borrowing and have been plagued by poor analytics at the time investment projects were chosen, incentive problems and interest-group-infested investment choices. These observations suggest that the current public investment drives will be more likely to succeed if governments do not behave as in the past, and instead take analytical issues seriously and safeguard their decision process against interests that distort public investment decisions.
Mr. Andrew Berg, Mr. Mumtaz Hussain, Mr. Shaun K. Roache, Ms. Amber A Mahone, Mr. Tokhir N Mirzoev, and Mr. Shekhar Aiyar
This study analyzes key issues associated with large increases in aid, including absorptive capacity, Dutch disease, and inflation. The authors develop a framework that emphasizes the different roles of monetary and fiscal policy and apply it to the recent experience of five countries: Ethiopia, Ghana, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda. These countries have often found it difficult to coordinate monetary and fiscal policy in the face of conflicting objectives, notably to spend the aid money on domestic goods and to avoid excessive exchange rate appreciation.
Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Robert Powell, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta
Au cours des dix prochaines années, les pays africains seront les principaux bénéficiaires de l'augmentation de l'aide extérieure, qui vise à les aider à atteindre les objectifs du millénaire pour le développement. Ce manuel vise à aider ces pays à évaluer les effets macroéconomiques de l'expansion de l'aide et à surmonter les défis qu'ils impliquent. Il se veut une référence pour les responsables, les économistes praticiens sur le terrain et le personnel des institutions financières internationales et des organismes donateurs qui participent à l'élaboration de stratégies à moyen terme pour les pays africains, notamment dans le contexte des documents de stratégie pour la réduction de la pauvreté. Le manuel présente cinq directives principales pour l'élaboration de scénarios d'expansion visant à aider les pays à déterminer les questions politiques importantes pour une gestion efficace de l'augmentation des flux d'aide : comment absorber autant d'aide extérieure que possible, comment augmenter la croissance à court et à moyen terme, comment promouvoir la bonne gouvernance et réduire la corruption, comment préparer une stratégie de sortie pour faire face à une diminution de l'aide, et comment réévaluer régulièrement le dosage de mesures.
Yongzheng Yang, Mr. Robert Powell, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta
Over the next decade, African countries are expected to be the largest beneficiaries of increased donor aid, which is intended to improve their prospects for achieving the Millennium Development Goals. This handbook will help these countries assess the macroeconomic implications of increased aid and respond to the associated policy challenges. The handbook is directed at policymakers, practicing economists in African countries, and the staffs of international financial institutions and donor agencies who participate in preparing medium-term strategies for African countries, including in the context of poverty reduction strategy papers. It provides five main guidelines for developing scaling-up scenarios to help countries identify important policy issues involved in using higher aid flows effectively: to absorb as much aid as possible, to boost growth in the short to medium term, to promote good governance and reduce corruption, to prepare an exit strategy should aid levels decrease, and to regularly reassess the policy mix.
The World Bank documents an inverse relationship between GDP per capita and child labor participation rates. We construct a life-cycle model with human and physical capital in which parents make a time allocation choice for their child. The model considers two features that have shown potential in explaining differences in states of development across nations. These are a minimum consumption requirement, and barriers to physical capital accumulation. We find the introduction of capital barriers alone is not enough to replicate the aforementioned observation by the World Bank. However, we find the interplay of a minimum consumption requirement and barriers to capital may enhance our understanding of child labor and the poverty of nations. Additionally, we find support for policies aimed at reducing capital barriers as a means to reduce child labor.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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