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Francisco Arizala, Mr. Matthieu Bellon, Ms. Margaux MacDonald, Mr. Montfort Mlachila, and Mustafa Yenice
After close to two decades of strong economic activity, overall growth in sub-Saharan Africa decelerated markedly in 2015–16 as the largest economies experienced negative or flat growth. Regional growth started recovering in 2017, but the question remains of how trends in the economies stuck in low gear will spill over to the countries that have maintained robust growth. This note illuminates the discussion by identifying growth spillover channels. The focus is on trade, banking, financial, remittance, investment, fiscal, and security channels, which are the most prominent and most likely to transmit growth trends across borders. In addition to bringing together findings from a broad array of existing research, the note identifies countries that are the most likely sources of regional spillovers and those that are most likely to be impacted, and provides estimates for the size of these channels. It finds that intraregional trade and remittance flows are an important channel for growth spillovers, while banking channels are less important but will remain a risk going forward. Finally, the note documents other important spillover channels through financial markets contagion, revenue-sharing arrangements in fiscal unions, commodity-pricing policies, corporate investment, and forced migration. The main takeaway is that the level of interdependence among sub-Saharan countries is higher than is generally assumed. Consequently, there is a need for additional emphasis on regional surveillance and spillover analysis, along with traditional bilateral surveillance.
Vito Amendolagine, Mr. Andrea F Presbitero, Roberta Rabellotti, Marco Sanfilippo, and Adnan Seric
The local sourcing of intermediate products is one the main channels for foreign direct investment (FDI) spillovers. This paper investigates whether and how participation and positioning in the global value chains (GVCs) of host countries is associated to local sourcing by foreign investors. Matching two firm-level data sets of 19 Sub-Saharan African countries and Vietnam to country-sector level measures of GVC involvement, we find that more intense GVC participation and upstream specialization are associated to a higher share of inputs sourced locally by foreign investors. These effects are larger in countries with stronger rule of law and better education.
Romina Kazandjian, Ms. Lisa L Kolovich, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, and Ms. Monique Newiak
We show that gender inequality decreases the variety of goods countries produce and export, in particular in low-income and developing countries. We argue that this happens through at least two channels: first, gender gaps in opportunity, such as lower educational enrollment rates for girls than for boys, harm diversification by constraining the potential pool of human capital available in an economy. Second, gender gaps in the labor market impede the development of new ideas by decreasing the efficiency of the labor force. Our empirical estimates support these hypotheses, providing evidence that gender-friendly policies could help countries diversify their economies.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines opportunities and challenges for growth in Haiti. Achieving a sustained increase in living standards in Haiti will require deep-seated reforms across a range of areas. Diversifying the export base is needed to cushion the impact of severe shocks that have reduced per capita income and prevented a sustained increase in the capital stock. Integration into global-value chains would also allow Haiti to take advantage of its proximity to the U.S. market and favorable trade preferences to generate employment, spur the creation of human capital, and allow Haiti to begin climbing the value added chain.
Olivier Basdevant, Mr. Andrew W Jonelis, Miss Borislava Mircheva, and Mr. Slavi T Slavov
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the economies of South Africa and its neighbors (Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe) are tightly integrated with each other. There are important institutional linkages. Across the region there are also large flows of goods and capital, significant financial sector interconnections, as well as sizeable labor movements and associated remittance flows. These interconnections suggest that South Africa’s GDP growth rate should affect positively its neighbors’, a point we illustrate formally with the help of numerical simulations of the IMF’s GIMF model. However, our review and update of the available econometric evidence suggest that there is no strong evidence of real spillovers in the region after 1994, once global shocks are controlled for. More generally, we find no evidence of real spillovers from South Africa to the rest of the continent post-1994. We investigate the possible reasons for this lack of spillovers. Most importantly, the economies of South Africa and the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa might have de-coupled in the mid-1990s. That is when international sanctions on South Africa ended and the country re-integrated with the global economy, while growth in the rest of the continent accelerated due to a combination of domestic and external factors.
Andrew Okello
Modern tax administrations seek to optimize tax collections while minimizing administration costs and taxpayer compliance costs. Experience shows that voluntary compliance is best achieved through a system of self-assessment. Many tax administrations have introduced self-assessment principles in the income tax law but the legal authority is not being consistently applied. They continue to rely heavily on “desk” auditing a majority of tax returns, while risk management practices remain largely underdeveloped and/or underutilized. There is also plenty of opportunity in many countries to enhance the design and delivery of client-focused taxpayer service programs, and better engage with the private sector and other stakeholders.
Mr. Joannes Mongardini, Mr. Tamon Asonuma, Olivier Basdevant, Mr. Alfredo Cuevas, Mr. Xavier Debrun, Lars Holger Engstrom, Imelda M. Flores Vazquez, Mr. Vitaliy Kramarenko, Mr. Lamin Y Leigh, Mr. Paul R Masson, and Ms. Genevieve Verdier


The Southern African Customs Union (SACU) is the oldest customs union in the world, with significant opportunities ahead for creating higher economic growth and increased welfare benefits to the people of the region, by fulfilling its vision to become an economic community with a common market and monetary union. This volume describes policy options to address the barriers to equitable and sustainable development in the region and outlines a plan for deeper regional integration.

Mr. Jorge I Canales Kriljenko, Ms. Farayi Gwenhamo, and Mr. Saji Thomas
Spillovers from South Africa into the other members of the Souther Africa Customs Union (known as the BLNS for Botstwana, Lesotho, Namibia, and Swaziland) are substantial reflecting sizeable real and financial interlinkages. However, shocks to real GDP growth in South Africa do not seem to systematically affect growth developments in BLNS countries as a group. Nevertheless, vector autoregressions, which allow country-specific parameters, suggest some strong spillovers onto the smaller economies.