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Yoke Wang Tok and Dyna Heng
This paper examines the role of Fintech in financial inclusion. Using Global Findex data and emerging fintech indicators, we find that Fintech has a higher positive correlation with digital financial inclusion than traditional measures of financial inclusion. In the second stage of our empirical investigation, we examine the key factors that are correlated with the Fletcher School’s three digital divide – gender divide, class (rich-poor) divide and rural divide. The results indicate that greater use of fintech is significantly associated with a narrowing of the class divide and rural divide but there was no impact on the gender divide. These findings imply that Fintech alone may not be sufficient to close the gender gap in access to financial services. Fintech development may need to be complemented with targeted policy initiatives aimed at addressing the gender gap directly, and at changing attitudes and social norms across demographics.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The Global Informal Workforce is a fresh look at the informal economy around the world and its impact on the macroeconomy. The book covers interactions between the informal economy, labor and product markets, gender equality, fiscal institutions and outcomes, social protection, and financial inclusion. Informality is a widespread and persistent phenomenon that affects how fast economies can grow, develop, and provide decent economic opportunities for their populations. The COVID-19 pandemic has helped to uncover the vulnerabilities of the informal workforce.

Mr. John C Bluedorn, Mr. Francesco Caselli, Mr. Niels-Jakob H Hansen, Mr. Ippei Shibata, and Ms. Marina Mendes Tavares
Early evidence on the pandemic’s effects pointed to women’s employment falling disproportionately, leading observers to call a “she-cession.” This paper documents the extent and persistence of this phenomenon in a quarterly sample of 38 advanced and emerging market economies. We show that there is a large degree of heterogeneity across countries, with over half to two-thirds exhibiting larger declines in women’s than men’s employment rates. These gender differences in COVID-19’s effects are typically short-lived, lasting only a quarter or two on average. We also show that she-cessions are strongly related to COVID-19’s impacts on gender shares in employment within sectors.
Ms. Sonali Jain-Chandra, Ms. Kalpana Kochhar, Ms. Monique Newiak, Yang Yang, and Ms. Edda Zoli
This paper analyzes the relationship between fiscal and structural policies and gender inequality in education and labor force participation for countries at different stages of development. Due to the substantial number of possible factors that link with gender inequality previously highlighted in the literature, we pay particular attention to addressing model uncertainty and using various statistical methods to find the variables with the strongest links to gender gaps. We find that higher public spending on education, better sanitation facilities, low adolescent fertility, and narrower marriage age gaps are significantly related to narrower gender gaps in education. We also find that better infrastructure, a stronger institutional environment, more equal legal rights, and low adolescent fertility rates are strongly associated with higher female labor force participation. When labor market protection is low, an increase in protection is associated with a narrowing of labor force participation gaps between men and women. But when labor market protection levels are high, an increase in protection is associated with a widening in labor force participation gaps.
Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky, Ms. Lisa L Kolovich, and Suhaib Kebhaj
Gender budgeting is an initiative to use fiscal policy and administration to address gender inequality and women’s advancement. A large number of sub-Saharan African countries have adopted gender budgeting. Two countries that have achieved notable success in their efforts are Uganda and Rwanda, both of which have integrated gender-oriented goals into budget policies, programs, and processes in fundamental ways. Other countries have made more limited progress in introducing gender budgeting into their budget-making. Leadership by the ministry of finance is critical for enduring effects, although nongovernmental organizations and parliamentary bodies in sub-Saharan Africa play an essential role in advocating for gender budgeting.
Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky
Gender budgeting is an approach to budgeting that uses fiscal policy and administration to promote gender equality and girls and women’s development. This paper posits that, properly designed, gender budgeting improves budgeting, and it places budgeting for this purpose in the context of sound budgeting principles and practices. The paper provides an overview of the policies and practices associated with gender budgeting as they have emerged across the world, as well as examples of the most prominent initiatives in every region of the world. Finally, it suggests what can be learned from these initiatives.
International Monetary Fund

Abstract

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa has weakened after more than a decade of solid growth, although this overall outlook masks considerable variation across the region. Some countries have been negatively affected by falling prices of their main commodity exports. Oil-exporting countries, including Nigeria and Angola, have been hit hard by falling revenues and the resulting fiscal adjustments, while middle-income countries such as Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia are also facing unfavorable conditions. This October 2015 report discusses the fiscal and monetary policy adjustments necessary for these countries to adapt to the new environment. Chapter 2 looks at competitiveness in the region, analyzing the substantial trade integration that accompanied the recent period of high growth, and policy actions to nurture new sources of growth. Chapter 3 looks at the implications for the region of persistently high income and gender inequality and ways to reduce them.

International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept
This Selected Issues paper examines how surges in global financial market volatility spill over to emerging market economies (EMs) including India. The results suggest that a surge in global financial market volatility is transmitted very strongly to key macroeconomic and financial variables of EMs, and the extent of its pass-through increases with the depth of external balance-sheet linkages between advanced countries and EMs. The paper also looks at food inflation, which has often been singled out as a key driver of India’s high and persistent inflation.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
The June 2007 issue of F&D spotlights gender equality. The lead article discusses progress toward fulfilling the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) on redressing gender discrimination and empowering women and related MDGs. The section also looks at how budgeting with gender issues in mind can help countries promote gender equality and what needs to be done to get girls from 'excluded' social groups into school. Other articles focus on Asia 10 years after the financial crisis, the implications of China's and India's growing ties with Africa, and making remittances work for Africa. 'Country Focus' looks at the challenges facing Bulgaria now that it has joined the European Union, 'Picture This' highlights the globalization of labor, and 'Back to Basics' gives a primer on microfinance. Two other pieces discuss the efficiency of public spending in Latin America and how countries can use the public sector balance sheet approach to diagnose vulnerabilities that are not immediately visible in the budget.