Africa > Gabon

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Manoj Atolia, Ms. Grace B Li, Ricardo Marto, and Mr. Giovanni Melina
Why do governments in developing economies invest in roads and not enough in schools? In the presence of distortionary taxation and debt aversion, the different pace at which roads and schools contribute to economic growth turns out to be central to this decision. Specifically, while costs are front-loaded for both types of investment, the growth benefits of schools accrue with a delay. To put things in perspective, with a “big push,” even assuming a large (15 percent) return differential in favor of schools, the government would still limit the fraction of the investment scale-up going to schools to about a half. Besides debt aversion, political myopia also turns out to be a crucial determinant of public investment composition. A “big push,” by accelerating growth outcomes, mitigates myopia—but at the expense of greater risks to fiscal and debt sustainability. Tied concessional financing and grants can potentially mitigate the adverse effects of both debt aversion and political myopia.
Ms. Grace B Li, Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
The permanent income hypothesis implies that frictionless open economies with exhaustible natural resources should save abroad most of their resource windfalls and, therefore, feature current account surpluses. Resource-rich developing countries (RRDCs), on the other hand, face substantial development needs and tight external borrowing constraints. By relaxing these constraints and providing a key financing source for public investment in RRDCs, temporary resource revenues might then be associated with current account deficits, or at least low surpluses. This paper develops a neoclassical model with private and public investment and several frictions that capture pervasive features in RRDCs, including absorptive capacity constraints, inefficiencies in investment, and borrowing constraints that can be relaxed when natural resources lower the country risk premium. The model is used to study the role of investment and these frictions in shaping the current account dynamics under windfalls. Since consumption and investment decisions are optimal, the model also serves to provide current account benchmarks (norms). We apply the model to the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa and discuss how our results can be used to inform the current account norm analysis pursued at the International Monetary Fund.
International Monetary Fund
The government of the Republic of Congo launched a program aimed at consolidating peace and promoting economic and social development. The objectives included improvement of governance and consolidation of peace and security, promotion of growth and macroeconomic stability, improvement of public access to basic social services, improvement of the social environment, integration of disadvantaged groups, and combating HIV/AIDS. The review shows that much remains to be accomplished, and building on the significant gains of recent years, the decision to expand and strengthen the strategic poverty reduction framework was made.
International Monetary Fund
Depuis plusieurs années, le FMI publie un nombre croissant de rapports et autres documents couvrant l'évolution et les tendances économiques et financières dans les pays membres. Chaque rapport, rédigé par une équipe des services du FMI à la suite d'entretiens avec des représentants des autorités, est publié avec l'accord du pays concerné.
International Monetary Fund
Oil production over the last 40 years has transformed Gabon into a middle-income country; but income inequality is high, and non-commodity sectors are stagnant. Gabon is recovering from the global financial crisis. The recovery to be sustained, with downside risks from commodity prices and possible slippages in policy implementation. The fiscal stance has important implications for domestic stability. Medium-term fiscal consolidation is vital to ensuring fiscal sustainability and external competitiveness as oil production dwindles over time. The authorities have embarked on major reforms of public financial management (PFM).
Mr. Ludvig Söderling
This paper studies the prospects for sustainable growth and economic development in Gabon, in the face of a severe decline in its main source of income and growth, i.e. oil. A simple Computable General Equilibrium model is used to simulate the development of the non-oil economy under various assumptions. The results of the simulations underline Gabon's dependence on foreign financing-especially private-and its vulnerability to variations in oil prices. The potential role of an income stabilization fund is also discussed.