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Financial Sector

Why are CFA countries’ financial sectors so shallow?

Raju Jan Singh's picture

During the 1980s and early 1990s, many African countries undertook reforms to deepen their financial sectors. Nevertheless, financial sectors in African countries remain among the shallowest in the world.  Within Africa, financial depth in the CFA franc zone is even more limited.  Why? Dhaneshwar Ghura, Kangni Kpodar and I examine this question.

Kenya Can … End Poverty

Wolfgang Fengler's picture

UPDATE: Watch an interview on the report I gave to CNBC

Today the World Bank launched its first “Kenya Economic Update” and we want to use this opportunity to launch the  blog “Kenya Can … End Poverty” as part of Shanta’s “Africa Can ...” blog. After leaving Indonesia in July 2009, this also brings me back to the community of bloggers.

The title of this first Kenya Economic Update is “Still standing – Kenya’s slow recovery from a quadruple shock with a special focus on the food crisis”.

Pour que la terre tourne….aussi à Madagascar : Vers un agenda de relance économique

Jacques Morisset's picture

Le déclin économique à Madagascar s’inscrit dans la durée. Depuis 1980, il n’y a que 7 pays en développement qui ont reporté une croissance de leur revenu par habitant moindre que Madagascar. Cette performance traduit des insuffisantes criantes en matière de développement humain et en infrastructure ainsi que des retards technologiques, qui sont les moteurs de la croissance.

Madagascar Economic Policy Update

Noro Andriamihaja's picture

For the first time since the beginning of the crisis, the Government spent massively in October through a combination of debt-service and investment outlays. Over the next few months, the new Government is expected to face three daunting challenges with significant financial implications:

  • Organizing institutions and the electoral process (US$10-20 million for each election and an additional US$5-7 million per month to run the institutions)
  • Managing humanitarian vulnerability to climatic and external shocks (e.g.,US$40 recovery cost in 2007/2008)

Impact of the Global Financial Crisis

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Not a day passes without somebody asking me about the impact of the global financial crisis on Africa's poverty reduction efforts. So I thought I would share this interview I recently did for Deutsche Welle radio.

I have also written extensively about what the crisis may mean for Africa on this blog. You can see those entries here.

Madagascar - Economic Update: Going Down...

Noro Andriamihaja's picture

If recent trends persisted during September, three new developments seem to indicate a deterioration in public finance and economic activities: (i)  the Government borrowed on the domestic financial market (about half of its monthly expenditures) for the first time since the beginning of the crisis; (ii) the exchange rate depreciated compared to the Euro and the USD over the past two weeks (down by 6 and 4% respectively); and (iii) international trade continued to decline (exports in volume, down by 62% in August compared to the same period a year ago).

Your Comments on Africa's Successes

Shanta Devarajan's picture

The African Successes post has generated a vigorous exchange of ideas.  I appreciate receiving your comments on the study, your suggestions for success stories, and your views on development approaches that have worked and those that have not.  

Les Réussites Africaines

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Ces dernières années, de nombreux pays africains ont commencé à faire preuve d’un dynamisme remarquable.

Le taux de croissance  enregistré au Mozambique est fulgurant, affichant une moyenne annuelle de 8 % sur plus de dix ans. Le Kenya est devenu l'un des plus importants fournisseurs mondiaux de fleurs coupées. Le service M-Pesa, qui permet d’effectuer des transferts d’argent à partir d’un téléphone mobile, rencontre un succès grandissant tandis que le programme KickStart aide les petits agriculteurs à irriguer leurs cultures à moindre coût. Le tourisme rwandais fleurit depuis qu’il s’est axé sur la vie des gorilles et dans la ville de Lagos au Nigéria, les nouvelles infrastructures du BRT (réseau de transport rapide par bus) facilite un développement urbain plus efficace. En deux mots, l’Afrique est en train de vivre une réelle transformation.

African Successes

Shanta Devarajan's picture

In recent years, a broad swath of African countries has begun to show a remarkable dynamism.  From Mozambique’s impressive growth rate (averaging 8% p.a. for more than a decade) to Kenya’s emergence as a major global supplier of cut flowers, from M-pesa’s mobile phone-based cash transfers to KickStart’s low-cost irrigation technology for small-holder farmers, and from Rwanda’s gorilla tourism to Lagos City’s Bus Rapid Transit system, Africa is seeing a dramatic transformation.  This favorable trend is spurred by, among other things, stronger leadership, better governance, an improving business climate, innovation, market-based solutions, a more involved citizenry, and an increasing reliance on home-grown solutions.  More and more, Africans are driving African development. 

The global economic crisis of 2008-09 threatens to undermine the optimism that Africa can harness this dynamism for long-lasting development.  In light of this, it might be useful to re-visit recent achievements.  The African Successes study aims to do just that.

The study will identify a wide range of development successes (see list), from which around 20 cases will be selected for in-depth study.  The analysis of each successful experience will evaluate the following: (1) the drivers of success—what has worked and why; (2) the sustainability of the successful outcome(s); and (3) the potential for scaling up successful experiences.  African success stories offer valuable insights and practical lessons to other countries in the region. 

I welcome your comments and suggestions for success stories. Click here to see the list of what we have come up with so far.

Rwanda is the world's top reformer in Doing Business

Shanta Devarajan's picture

Based on the impact of reforms implemented between June 2008 and May 2009, Rwanda has been named "world's top reformer" in this year's Doing Business report. This is the first time an African country has received the title.  It now takes a Rwandese entrepreneur just two procedures and three days to start a business.  Transferring property takes less time, thanks to a reorganized registry and statutory time limits. Investors have more protection, insolvency reorganization has been streamlined, and a wider range of assets can be used as collateral to access credit.

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