Africa > Sierra Leone

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Rasmané Ouedraogo and Nicolas Syrichas
The COVID-19 crisis has a severe impact on education and employment and exposed the many social inequities that make some populations more vulnerable to shocks. Despite a vast literature on social mobility in advanced economies, little is known about it in African countries, mainly due to data limitations. Using a large harmonized dataset of more than 72 million individuals, we fill this gap and examine socioeconomic status mobility across generations, measured by educational and occupational attainment. We uncover the substantial geographical variations in the degree of upward/downward educational and occupational mobility across and within African countries, and the gender and rural/urban divide. Additionally, we explore the determinants of social mobility in the African region. We find that social mobility on the continent could be partly explained by observable individual characteristics (gender, marital status, age, etc.), and that educational mobility is a driver of occupational mobility. Lastly, we show that the quality of institutions, the level of public spending on education, social protection coverage, natural resource endowments, and countries' fragility are strong predictors of social mobility in Africa.
Irina Bunda, Luc Eyraud, and Zhangrui Wang
The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, which has hit financial systems across Africa, is likely to deteriorate banks’ balance sheets. The largest threat to banks pertains to their loan portfolios, since many borrowers have faced a sharp collapse in their income, and therefore have difficulty repaying their obligations as they come due. This could lead to a sharp increase in nonperforming loans (NPLs) in the short to medium term.
Mr. Ashraf Khan and Majid Malaika
Based on technical assistance to central banks by the IMF’s Monetary and Capital Markets Department and Information Technology Department, this paper examines fintech and the related area of cybersecurity from the perspective of central bank risk management. The paper draws on findings from the IMF Article IV Database, selected FSAP and country cases, and gives examples of central bank risks related to fintech and cybersecurity. The paper highlights that fintech- and cybersecurity-related risks for central banks should be addressed by operationalizing sound internal risk management by establishing and strengthening an integrated risk management approach throughout the organization, including a dedicated risk management unit, ongoing sensitizing and training of Board members and staff, clear reporting lines, assessing cyber resilience and security posture, and tying risk management into strategic planning.. Given the fast-evolving nature of such risks, central banks could make use of timely and regular inputs from external experts.
Mr. Johannes Herderschee and Ms. Luisa Zanforlin
Whereas most of the literature related to the so-called “resource curse” tends to emphasize on institutional factors and public policies, in this research we focus on the role of the financial sector, which has been surprisingly overlooked. We find that countries that have financial systems with more depth, as well as those that actively manage their central banks’ balance sheets experience less exchange-rate appreciation than countries that do not. We analyze the relationship between these two findings and suggest that they appear to follow separate mechanisms.
Hans Weisfeld, Mr. Irineu E de Carvalho Filho, Mr. Fabio Comelli, Rahul Giri, Klaus-Peter Hellwig, Chengyu Huang, Fei Liu, Mrs. Sandra V Lizarazo Ruiz, Alexis Meyer-Cirkel, and Mr. Andrea F Presbitero
In recent years, Fund staff has prepared cross-country analyses of macroeconomic vulnerabilities in low-income countries, focusing on the risk of sharp declines in economic growth and of debt distress. We discuss routes to broadening this focus by adding several macroeconomic and macrofinancial vulnerability concepts. The associated early warning systems draw on advances in predictive modeling.
International Monetary Fund
This paper analyzes the implications of devaluation and a variety of structural disturbances in a dual exchange rate economy. A key feature of the model developed is its explicit recognition of both private (fraudulent) and officially-sanctioned cross transactions between the two exchange markets. The principal lesson to be learned from the analysis is that popular notions as to the effects of devaluation or of other disturbances are to be viewed with considerable caution when the dual rate regime involves inter-market transactions.