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International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
The 2018 Review of Program Design and Conditionality is the first comprehensive stocktaking of Fund lending operations since the global financial crisis. The review assesses program performance between September 2011 and end-2017. Programs during this period were defined by the protracted structural challenges faced by members and hampered by the persistently weak global environment.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

The region is seeing a modest growth uptick, but this is not uniform and the medium-term outlook remains subdued. Growth is projected to rise to 3.4 percent in 2018, from 2.8 percent in 2017, on the back of improved global growth, higher commodity prices, and continued strong public spending. About ¾ of the countries in the region are predicted to experience faster growth. Beyond 2018, growth is expected to plateau below 4 percent, modestly above population growth, reflecting continued sluggishness in the oil-exporting countries and sustained growth in non-resource-intensive countries. A number of countries (Burundi, DRC, South Sudan, and parts of the Sahel) remain locked in internal conflict resulting in record levels of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons, with adverse spillovers to neighboring countries.

Céline Allard

Abstract

La dynamique de croissance en Afrique subsaharienne demeure fragile, ce qui représente une rupture par rapport à la rapide expansion qui avait été enregistrée depuis le début du millénaire. L’année 2016 a été difficile pour de nombreux pays et la croissance régionale est descendue à 1,4 %, le niveau le plus faible depuis plus de deux décennies. La plupart des exportateurs de pétrole ont été en récession et la conjoncture est restée difficile dans les autres pays riches en ressources naturelles. En revanche, dans les pays pauvres en ressources naturelles la croissance a continué d’être robuste. Grâce à une modeste reprise, la croissance devrait se situer à environ 2,6 % en 2017, niveau toutefois inférieur à celui des tendances passées et trop faible pour remettre l’Afrique subsaharienne sur la voie de l’amélioration des niveaux de vie. La région continue d’offrir un énorme potentiel de croissance, mais la détérioration des perspectives globales tient en partie au caractère insuffisant des ajustements opérés par les pouvoirs publics. Pour mettre en valeur ce potentiel, la région devra mener des politiques saines et avisées qui lui permettront de faire redémarrer le moteur de la croissance.

Céline Allard

Abstract

Growth momentum in sub-Saharan Africa remains fragile, marking a break from the rapid expansion witnessed since the turn of the millennium. 2016 was a difficult year for many countries, with regional growth dipping to 1.4 percent—the lowest level of growth in more than two decades. Most oil exporters were in recession, and conditions in other resource-intensive countries remained difficult. Other nonresource-intensive countries however, continued to grow robustly. A modest recovery in growth of about 2.6 percent is expected in 2017, but this falls short of past trends and is too low to put sub-Saharan Africa back on a path of rising living standards. While sub-Saharan Africa remains a region with tremendous growth potential, the deterioration in the overall outlook partly reflects insufficient policy adjustment. In that context, and to reap this potential, strong and sound domestic policy measures are needed to restart the growth engine.

Mr. Olumuyiwa S Adedeji, Mr. Calixte Ahokpossi, Claudio Battiati, and Mrs. Mai Farid
What constitutes fiscal space or a prudent level of debt to conduct countercyclical policy while ensuring debt sustainability? This paper addresses the question by exploring the relationship between debt dynamics, and the probabilistic distribution of the primary balance and the effective interest rate. This proposed approach is useful in situations where the lack of relevant data makes it difficult to estimate detailed fiscal reaction functions. Applying this approach to Low-Income Developing Countries (LIDCs) and based on various debt ceiling assumptions, we find that about 60 percent of these countries presently have fiscal policy space to address adverse shocks, subject to the availability of domestic and external financing. Countries with strong institutional capacity tend to have more fiscal space, and countries with weak institutional capacity, mostly countries in conflict and fragile states, tend to lack fiscal space.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Joint Staff Advisory Note discusses the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for the Democratic Republic of São Tomé and Príncipe. The PRSP-II is the successor to the government’s previous development strategy, the PRSP-I, and furthers the country’s commitment to promoting sustainable poverty reduction through broad-based growth. Overall, the PRSP-II presents a coherent analysis and offers an appropriate policy framework for long-term poverty reduction and sustainable economic growth. The PRSP-II builds on the experience in a number of areas, promoting economic diversification and laying out a set of ambitious but attainable development goals. IMF Staff recommends further work on several critical areas in which the PRSP-II could be strengthened.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Growth remained strong in the region in 2012, with regional GDP rates increasing in most countries (excluding Nigeria and South Africa). Projections point to a moderate, broad-based acceleration in growth to around 5½ percent in 2013¬14, reflecting a gradually strengthening global economy and robust domestic demand. Investment in export-oriented sectors remains an important economic driver, and an agriculture rebound in drought-affected areas will also help growth. Uncertainties in the global economy are the main risk to the region’s outlook, but plausible adverse shocks would likely not have a large effect on the region’s overall performance.

Mr. Paulo Drummond, Mr. Wendell Daal, Mr. Nandini Srivastava, and Mr. Luiz E Oliveira
Mobilizing more revenue is a priority for sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. Countries have to finance their development agendas, and weak revenue mobilization is the root cause of fiscal imbalances in several countries. This paper reviews the experience of low-income SSA countries in mobilizing revenue in recent decades, with two broad aims: identify empirical norms of how much and how fast countries have been able to mobilize more revenue and empirical determinants (panel estimates) of revenue mobilization. The paper finds that (i) the frequency distribution of changes in revenue ratios for SSA low-income countries (LICs) peaks at a pace of about ½-2 percentage points of GDP in the short-to-medium term and at a pace of about 2-3½ percentage points of GDP over the longer term, and that (ii) almost all SSA-LICs managed to increase revenue ratios by more than 2 percentage points of GDP in the short-to-medium term, at least once in the last two decades. The sustainability of large increases in revenue ratios can be an issue, in particular for fragile countries. The panel estimates suggest that structural factors, such as per capita GDP, share of agriculture in GDP, inflation, degree of openness, and rents received from natural resources, are important determinants of tax revenue.
Mr. Yehenew Endegnanew, Ms. Therese Turner-Jones, and Charles Amo Yartey
This paper examines the empirical link between fiscal policy and the current account focusing on microstates defined as countries with a population of less than 2 million between 1970 and 2009. The paper employs panel regression and panel vector autoregression (VAR) on 155 countries of which 42 are microstates. Panel regression results show that a percentage point improvement in the fiscal balance improves the current account balance by 0.4 percentage points of GDP. The real effective exchange rate has no significant impact on the current account in microstates but the coefficient is significant in the global sample. Panel VAR results show that an increase in government consumption results in real exchange appreciation but the effect on the current account after an initial deterioration dies out quicker in microstates than in the global sample. The result implies that fiscal policy has little effect on the current account in microstates beyond its direct impact on imports. Overall, the results suggest that the weak relative price effects make the effect of fiscal adjustment on the current account much more difficult in microstates.
Victor Duarte Lledo and Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro
This paper investigates economic, political, and institutional constraints to fiscal policy implementation in sub-saharan Africa. We find that planned fiscal adjustments or expansions are less likely to be implemented the larger they are, the more inaccurate the growth forecasts they are based on, the more fragile the regulatory system in the country, and the weaker the institutions framing the design, approval, and execution of the budget. The findings support ongoing efforts in the region to improve the quality and timeliness of economic data; enhance forecasting capacity; adopt realistic fiscal plans; and strengthen governance, budgetary institutions, and public financial management procedures.