Over the past two decades, many low-income developing countries have substantially increased openness towards external financing and have received large capital inflows. Using bank-level micro data, this paper finds that capital inflows have been associated with financial deepening through increases in bank loans, deposits, and wholesale funding. Domestic banks increase loans more than foreign banks. There are only modest signs of a build-up in financial vulnerabilities. Causality is examined through an instrumental variable approach and an augmented inverse-probability weighting estimator. These approaches indicate only limited evidence for global push effects, pointing towards the importance of domestic pull factors.
This paper concludes that the existing framework remains broadly appropriate, but proposes methodological refinements to improve the assessment of market access, clarifies how serious short-term vulnerabilities are assessed, and proposes a modest extension of the transition period before graduation decisions become effective.
This Selected Issues paper discusses growth strategy for Ghana. Ghana has achieved impressive development gains over the last decades, with rising incomes, lower poverty, and better health, education, and gender outcomes. However, growth has recently become less inclusive, with high inequality and slower poverty reduction. In order to address these challenges, the authorities are pursuing a “Ghana beyond Aid” development strategy centered around agricultural modernization and export-led industrialization. Accelerating productivity growth calls for fostering competition, improving the business environment, strengthening human capital, taking advantage of growing regional markets and industrial policies that prioritize sectors that can export and innovate and where Ghana could achieve economies of scale. Consistent and predictable government policies can help increase long-term investment and improve public spending effectiveness. A key lesson from growth accelerations in other countries is that it is crucial to achieve economies of scale. In most cases, rapid economic growth required achieving export success in specific sectors.
Mr. Etibar Jafarov, Mr. Rodolfo Maino, and Mr. Marco Pani
Financial repression (legal restrictions on interest rates, credit allocation, capital movements, and other financial operations) was widely used in the past but was largely abandoned in the liberalization wave of the 1990s, as widespread support for interventionist policies gave way to a renewed conception of government as an impartial referee. Financial repression has come back on the agenda with the surge in public debt in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis, and some countries have reintroduced administrative ceilings on interest rates. By distorting market incentives and signals, financial repression induces losses from inefficiency and rent-seeking that are not easily quantified. This study attempts to assess some of these losses by estimating the impact of financial repression on growth using an updated index of interest rate controls covering 90 countries over 45 years. The results suggest that financial repression poses a significant drag on growth, which could amount to 0.4-0.7 percentage points.
Mr. Emre Alper, Mr. Benedict J. Clements, Mr. Niko A Hobdari, and Rafel Moyà Porcel
This paper reviews the impact of interest rate controls in Kenya, introduced in September 2016. The intent of the controls was to reduce the cost of borrowing, expand access to credit, and increase the return on savings. However, we find that the law on interest rate controls has had the opposite effect of what was intended. Specifically, it has led to a collapse of credit to micro, small, and medium enterprises; shrinking of the loan book of the small banks; and reduced financial intermediation. We also show that interest rate caps reduced the signaling effects of monetary policy. These suggest that (i) the adverse effects could largely be avoided if the ceiling was high enough to facilitate lending to higher risk borrowers; and (ii) alternative policies could be preferable to address concerns about the high cost of credit.
Daniel Gurara, Mr. Vladimir Klyuev, Miss Nkunde Mwase, Mr. Andrea F Presbitero, and Mr. Geoffrey J Bannister
This paper examines trends in infrastructure investment and its financing in low-income developing countries (LIDCs). Following an acceleration of public investment over the last 15 years, the stock of infrastructure assets increased in LIDCs, even though large gaps remain compared to emerging markets. Infrastructure in LIDCs is largely provided by the public sector; private participation is mostly channeled through Public-Private Partnerships. Grants and concessional loans are an essential source of infrastructure funding in LIDCs, while the complementary role of bank lending is still limited to a few countries. Bridging infrastructure gaps would require a broad set of actions to improve the efficiency of public spending, mobilize domestic resources and support from development partners, and crowd in the private sector.
This paper discusses Kenya’s First Reviews Under the Twenty-Four Month Stand-by Arrangement (SBA) and the Arrangement Under the Standby Credit Facility and Requests for Waivers of Applicability, Rephasing of Disbursements, and Modification of Performance Criterion (PC). Macroeconomic developments have been broadly in line with the program, including strong growth and lower current account deficits. On fiscal policy, revenue shortfalls in FY2015/16 were more than offset by under-execution of public investment. The IMF staff recommends completion of the first reviews and supports the authorities’ requests for waivers of applicability for SBA for end-December 2016 PC, rephasing of disbursements, and modification of PC.
Ms. Era Dabla-Norris, Yan Ji, Robert M. Townsend, and Ms. Filiz D Unsal
We develop a micro-founded general equilibrium model with heterogeneous agents to identify pertinent constraints to financial inclusion. We evaluate quantitatively the policy impacts of relaxing each of these constraints separately, and in combination, on GDP and inequality. We focus on three dimensions of financial inclusion: access (determined by the size of participation costs), depth (determined by the size of collateral constraints resulting from limited commitment), and intermediation efficiency (determined by the size of interest rate spreads and default possibilities due to costly monitoring). We take the model to a firm-level data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey for six countries at varying degrees of economic development—three low-income countries (Uganda, Kenya, Mozambique), and three emerging market countries (Malaysia, the Philippines, and Egypt). The results suggest that alleviating different financial frictions have a differential impact across countries, with country-specific characteristics playing a central role in determining the linkages and tradeoffs between inclusion, GDP, inequality, and the distribution of gains and losses.
This enhanced review of Senegal’s financial sector is one of several pilot reviews called for by the Executive Board in May 2012. The purpose of the reviews is to go beyond the traditional surveillance focus on banking system soundness and solvency by analyzing in more depth the interplay between financial development, macroeconomic and financial stability, and effectiveness of macroeconomic policies in low-income countries. Senegal is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union; a number of key macroeconomic and financial policies are designed and implemented at the union level. This study focuses on Senegal-specific issues. Another pilot study, to be prepared in the context of the next annual consultation on regional policies in early 2013, will focus on union-wide issues.