1. Several factors have interacted to propel fragility in Zimbabwe and undermine economic and social outcomes (Annex I). Periods of strong growth were not sustained owing to climatic and health shocks, as well as policies that fueled economic imbalances, distorted prices, promoted rent-seeking, and weakened competitiveness. In the 2000s, a challenging land reform and an HIV/AIDs epidemic, accompanied by weak institutions, exacerbated the output decline. Per capita income lags its peak and that of sub-Saharan Africa and extreme poverty has risen sharply. On the positive side, human development has caught up with and surpasses that of peers.
The macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa continues to strengthen. Growth is expected to increase from 2.7 percent in 2017 to 3.1 percent in 2018, reflecting domestic policy adjustments and a supportive external environment, including continued steady growth in the global economy, higher commodity prices, and accommodative external financing conditions. Inflation is abating; and fiscal imbalances are being contained in many countries. Over the medium term, and on current policies, growth is expected to accelerate to about 4 percent, too low to create the number of jobs needed to absorb anticipated new entrants into labor markets.
The linearity of the relationship between income inequality and economic development has been long questioned. While theory provides arguments for which the shape of relationship may be positive for low levels of inequality and negative for high ones, most of the empirical literature assumes a linear specification finding conflicting results. Employing an innovative empirical approach robust to endogeneity, we find pervasive evidence of nonlinearities. In particular, similar to the debt overhang literature, we identify an inequality overhang level in that the slope of the relationship between income inequality and economic development switches from positive to negative at a net Gini of about 27 percent. We also find that in an environment characterized by widespread financial inclusion and high income concentration, rising income inequality has a larger negative impact on economic development because banks may curtail credit to customers at the lower end of the income distribution. On the positive side, a sufficiently high female labor participation can act as a shock absorber reducing such negative impact, possibly through a more efficient allocation of resources.
Context. The authorities met all their commitments under the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP), despite economic and financial difficulties. Inadequate external inflows, lower commodity prices, the dollar appreciation, and the El-Niño-induced drought hurt economic activity. The authorities have started to rationalize civil service by exploiting opportunities for cost savings, amended the Public Financial Management and Procurement Acts for Parliament and Cabinet approval, respectively, and rid the financial sector of problem banks and reduced non-performing loans. They garnered broad support for their reengagement strategy from creditors and development partners, in particular their plans to clear arrears to the International Financial Institutions.
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years, though with large variation among countries in the region. The sharp decline in commodity prices has severely strained many of the largest economies, including oil exporters Angola and Nigeria, and other commodity exporters, such as Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia. At the same time, the decline in oil prices has helped other countries continue to show robust growth, including Kenya and Senegal. A strong policy response to the terms-of-trade shocks is critical and urgent in many countries. This report also examines sub-Saharan Africa’s vulnerability to commodity price shocks, and documents the substantial progress made in financial develop, especially financial services based on mobile technologies.
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. Secretary's Department
Seven years after the onset of the global financial crisis, the world still has a way to go to secure a sustainable recovery marked by strong growth that supports rapid job creation and benefits all, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde says in her foreword to the institution’s Annual Report 2014—From Stabilization to Sustainable Growth, published today. The recovery is ongoing, but it is still too slow and fragile, subject to the vagaries of financial sentiment. Millions of people are still looking for work. The level of uncertainty might be diminishing, but it is certainly not disappearing.” Ms. Lagarde said that “throughout the crisis and in the recovery period, the IMF has been, and continues to be, an indispensible agent of economic cooperation” for its membership. The report covers the work of the IMF’s Executive Board and contains financial statements for the year May 1, 2013, to April 30, 2014. It describes the IMF’s support for its 188 member countries, with an emphasis on the core areas of IMF responsibility: assessing their economic and financial policies, providing financing where needed, and building capacity in key areas of economic policy.
The IMF's 2010 Annual Report chronicles the response of the Fund's Executive Board and staff to the global financial crisis and other events during financial year 2010, which covers the period from May 1, 2009, through April 30, 2010. The print version of the Report is available in eight languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Russian, and Spanish), along with a CD-ROM (available in English only) that includes the Report text and ancillary materials, including the Fund's Financial Statements for FY2010.
The IMFC in its April 2010 Communiqué pledged to complete the 14th Quota Review before January 2011 in line with the parameters agreed in Istanbul. The Committee of the Whole (COW) has since continued its work aimed at developing proposals that could command broad support. At its most recent meeting in September, there was a shared commitment to reaching an agreement within the agreed timetable but views remained divided on many issues. To facilitate progress towards the agreed goal, this paper suggests possible elements that could help form the basis for an agreement. These elements seek to build on the discussions to date and balance the diverse views that have been expressed. Inevitably, they will not fully meet the preferences or priorities of any individual member, and difficult compromises will be required from all sides if an agreement is to be reached.