The dramatic drop in commodity prices in 2014 has had lingering effects in sub-Saharan Africa. One such effect is a growing backlog of payments by governments to service providers, known as arrears. But despite the prevalence of arrears in the region, their causes and consequences are not well understood. The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa looks at the economic and social impact of increasing arrears in recent years. In this podcast, IMF economists Samuel Delepierre and David Stenzel say domestic arrears can undermine private sector activity and citizens’ trust in the government.
Competition is considered to be an essential driving force of market economies. It’s said to ensure a more efficient allocation of resources and can boost innovation and productivity. But what happens when there isn’t enough competition? The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa looks at how the lack of competition in the region is hurting the poor and undermining economic growth. In this podcast, IMF economists Reda Cherif and Jesus Gonzalez-Garcia say more competition could lower prices and increase welfare.
Photo: Competition makes the economy work for people. (iStock by Getty images/ Stefan_Ganev)
In 2018, African Union members established the African Continental Free Trade Area in an effort to boost regional trade. They agreed to eliminate tariffs on most goods, liberalize the trade of services and address obstacles to trade between African countries. The African free trade agreement has since been ratified by 22 countries and is likely to take effect later this year. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa studies the potential impact of the agreement that will establish a market of 1.2 billion people with a combined GDP of US$2.5 trillion dollars. In this podcast, economists Reda Cherif and Geremia Palomba say this could be an economic game changer for the continent.
Geremia Palomba is a Deputy Division Chief and Reda Cherif is a Senior Economist in IMF’s African Department.
A third of countries in sub-Saharan Africa are currently involved in conflict or experiencing post-conflict tension, forcing an estimated 18 million people away from their homes and livelihoods. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa provides an in-depth analysis of conflict trends and the socio-economic challenges faced by countries in the region. Economists, Siddharth Kothari and Mahvash Saeed Qureshi spearheaded the study. In this podcast, they say conflicts strain public finances and shift scarce resources away from social and developmental spending, accentuating their debilitating consequences.
Mahvash Saeed Qureshi is a Deputy Division Chief and Siddharth Kothari is an economist in the Regional Studies Division of the IMF’s African department.
In the wake of the global financial crisis and with low interest rates lingering in most advanced economies, investors have increasingly been looking at Africa for investment opportunities. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa examines what this spectacular increase in capital flows means for the region. In this podcast, economist Mahvash Saeed Qureshi says the recent rise in investment capital offers a lot of opportunities but also carries risks. Qureshi led the research team that wrote the report.
Mahvash Saeed Qureshi is a Deputy Division Chief in the IMF’s African department.
Photo: Global factors such as U.S. interest rates and commodity prices have a direct impact on capital flows to sub-Saharan Africa. (iStock by Getty Images/fotopoly)
Oil prices have bounced back somewhat but the IMF's latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows why energy exporters shouldn’t get too comfortable. "The level of oil prices that we see currently don’t imply growth rates in the future that are high enough, and that are anywhere near what we had seen before the oil slump.” Papa N’Diaye is head of research in the IMF’s African Department, and in this podcast, he says while the macroeconomic outlook for sub-Saharan Africa continues to strengthen–thanks to ongoing reforms and stronger global growth, growth rates still fall short of what the region really needs. N’Diaye oversaw the writing of this latest regional economic outlook.
Photo: Now What? Growth rates in sub-Saharan Africa are too low to create enough jobs for its growing labor force. (iStock by Getty Images/peopleimages).
Le dernier rapport du FMI sur les perspectives économiques régionales indique que la croissance s’accélère, grâce en partie, à la hausse du cours des produits de base. »En fin, la raison pour laquelle la croissance augmente c’est par ce que les pays exportateurs de pétrole se remettent peu à peu de ce choc avec le bénéfice des prix plus élevés du pétrole.» Papa N’Diaye, dirige la division des études régionales au département Afrique du FMI, et il dit que tandis que la perspective macroéconomique pour l'Afrique subsaharienne continue à se renforcer–merci aux réformes en cours et la croissance mondiale plus forte, les taux de croissance ne répondent toujours pas au besoin réel de la région. N’Diaye a supervisé la rédaction de cette nouvelle perspective économique régionale.
Photo: Et maintenant? La croissance en Afrique subsaharienne reste trop faible pour créer suffisamment d’emplois pour absorber l’augmentation rapide de sa population active. (iStock by Getty Images/peopleimages)
Le dernier rapport du FMI sur les perspectives économiques régionales de l’Afrique subsaharienne indique qu’avec l’adoption des bonnes politiques, la région pourrait globalement accroître ses recettes publiques de jusqu’à 5 % du PIB. Alex Segura est chef de mission pour le Gabon et il a dirigé l’équipe qui a écrit le chapitre sur la mobilisation des recettes fiscales en Afrique subsaharienne. Dans ce podcast, Segura explique que les gens sont plus susceptibles de se conformer à leurs obligations s’ils sont convaincus que le fisc est équitable.
Alex Segura est conseiller au département Afrique du FMI.
The latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa suggests better policy design could help countries increase tax revenues by as much as 5 percent of GDP. Alex Segura heads the IMF team for Gabon, and led the team of economists who wrote the chapter on raising revenues in the report. In this podcast, Segura says when people perceive that the tax system is fair, they’re much more likely to accept their tax obligations.
Alex Segura is an Advisor in the IMF’s African department.
The latest Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows a modest uptick in growth largely driven by stronger global growth and higher commodity prices. In this podcast the IMF’s Papa N’Diaye, says it’s time to implement reforms that will firm up the recovery. The study shows growth picking up from 2⅔ percent in 2017 to 3½ percent in 2018. N’Diaye heads the team of IMF economists who write the report and he says the uptick is good news for the region which has been experiencing a slowdown in economic growth over the last few years.
In the new world of lower commodity prices, many sub-Saharan African countries are having to diversify their economies. And while sub-Saharan Africa has had periods of rapid growth, the process by which workers move from low-productivity jobs to better paying higher productivity jobs has been slower than in other regions. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa devotes an entire chapter to studying the potential benefits of a stepped-up diversification agenda. In this podcast, co-author Axel Schimmelpfennig says Africa’s young entrepreneurs should be at the heart of the diversification process.
Axel Schimmelpfennig, IMF Mission Chief for Uganda
The IMF's latest regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa suggests the broad-based slowdown in sub-Saharan Africa is easing. In this podcast, co-author Jarek Wieczorek, says growth is up slightly from last year, but so is public debt. "If we maintain the trend we saw in the last 3 years, the debt will become unsustainable in many sub-Saharan African countries.”
Contributors: Jarek Wieczorek, Head of the Regional Studies Division in the IMF’s African Department
Les dernières perspectives de l’Afrique subsaharienne portent à croire que le ralentissement généralisé s’atténue. Dans ce podcast, coauteur Jarek Wieczorek, explique la croissance s’accélère, mais la dette publique augmente aussi. « Si la tendance actuelle persiste, la dette deviendra insoutenable dans plusieurs de pays ».
Jarek Wieczorek, chef de la division des études régionales au Département Afrique du FMI
By 2035 sub-Saharan Africa will have more working-age people than the rest of the world’s regions combined. This growing workforce bulge will have to be met with jobs, but the region remains one of the toughest places to do business. Meanwhile, small-unregistered household businesses provide up to 90 percent of jobs outside of agriculture. The IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa devotes an entire chapter on the informal economy, and in this podcast we speak with economist Ali Mansoor, coauthor of the study.
Ali Mansoor, IMF Division Chief for West Africa, and coauthor of the report.
The IMF's latest regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows growth has fallen to its lowest level in twenty years. In this podcast, co-author Céline Allard, says while some countries like Senegal and Kenya continue to experience growth rates higher than 6 percent, growth has slowed for two thirds of countries in the region bringing down average growth in 2016 to 1.4 percent.
Contributors: Céline Allard, Head of the Regional Studies Division in the IMF’s African Department
La dernière édition des Perspectives économiques régionales, indique que la croissance en Afrique subsaharienne est tombée à son plus bas niveau depuis plus de 20 ans. Dans ce podcast, coauteur Céline Allard, explique si certains pays continuent d’enregistrer une croissance supérieure à 6 %, l’expansion a ralenti dans deux tiers des pays de la région, ce qui a réduit la croissance moyenne à 1,4 % en 2016.
Contributors: Céline Allard, chef de la division des études régionales au Département Afrique du FMI
The IMF's latest regional economic outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa shows growth at its lowest level in more than 20 years. But in this podcast, the African Department’s new Director, Abebe Aemro Selassie, says it’s a mixed story of struggling oil-exporters and strong performers.
Contributors: Abebe Aemro Selassie, Director of the IMF’s African Department
Le dernier rapport du FMI sur les Perspectives économiques régionales prévoit que le taux de croissance économique de l’Afrique subsaharienne devrait descendre à son plus bas niveau depuis plus de deux décennies. Mais Céline Allard, chef de la division des études régionales au Département Afrique, dit que plusieurs pays continuent de croitre de manière très robuste
Contributeurs: Céline Allard, chef de la division des études régionales au Département Afrique du FMI