There are 22 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) with floating exchange rate regimes, de jure. Some target the money supply or the inflation rate; others practice "managed floating." Statistical analysis on monthly data for the past decade reveals that in most cases these exchange rate regimes can be approximated surprisingly well by a soft peg to a basket dominated by the US dollar. The weight on the dollar appears to have fallen somewhat across the continent in the aftermath of the global financial crisis. Replicating the model with weekly data for The Gambia suggests that the focus on the dollar might be even more pronounced at higher data frequencies. While there might be strong arguments in favor of limiting exchange rate volatility in SSA countries, soft-pegging to the dollar does not appear to be the best fit for them, given the currency structure of their external trade and finance. The paper concludes by discussing some policy options for SSA countries with flexible exchange rates, in the context of an illustrative recent country case.
This study empirically analyzes the determinants of bond market development in a cross section of 23 sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries between 1990 and 2008. It considers the stage of development and the size of the bond market, as well as the historical, structural, institutional and macroeconomic factors driving bond market development in SSA. The study finds that the savings constraint is a key impediment to domestic bond markets development as well as financial market deepening, as it results in a low level of financial intermediation by the banks. Overall, the results show that a confluence of factors matters for the development of domestic bond markets in SSA; these include structure of the economy, investment profile, law and order, size of the banking sector, the level of economic development, and various macroeconomic factors. Policy implications include increased efforts to strengthen the investment environment and the need for a regional approach to bond market development.
This paper discusses the main operational issues involved in the implementation of interbank foreign exchange systems in selected African countries. The countries considered are The Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone. The paper finds that exchange rates in these markets tend to be determined through transactions between dealers and clients at the retail level, for the most part, rather than through wholesale interdealer transactions. Additionally, many factors continue to limit the full development of these markets. In particular, informational problems limiting “real time” quotes, inadequate competition in the market, and insufficient regulations to reduce exchange rate risk and encourage “true” interdealer transactions. Despite these limitations, the markets studied have improved the efficiency of foreign exchange allocation and substantially narrowed exchange rate differentials between the official and parallel markets.
This paper reviews the experience with floating interbank exchange rate systems in five developing countries--The Gambia, Guyana, Jamaica, Nigeria and Sri Lanka--and draws some conclusions about the stability and efficiency of these systems. The experience of these countries illustrates both the difficulties and the advantages of interbank exchange rate markets. The main conclusion is that these markets can operate relatively well with a minimum banking infrastructure, provided that the authorities remove legal and institutional impediments to the free operation of these markets including, in particular, exchange restrictions. Any residual restrictions that may remain will likely give rise to the continued existence of parallel markets.