When the global economic crisis hit Africa, I worried (along with others) that the continent’s economic reforms would be stalled or reversed. Political support for these reforms may be undermined as economic growth slowed. Furthermore, the response of high-income countries in response to the crisis—large fiscal deficits and greater government participation in the banking sector—was in the opposite direction of the reforms that African countries had been pursuing
The New York Times recently reported on the political crisis in Niger, where the President’s dismissal of the Constitutional Court (which had ruled against his proposal to abolish term limits) is being con
At a recent conference that brought together African Finance and Education ministers, the keynote speaker, Tharman Shanmugaratnam, finance minister (and former education minister) of Singapore gave a beautiful speech about Singapore's experience that contained some potentially difficult and controversial messages for Africa.
Sub-Saharan Africa now has the highest incidence of extreme poverty, such as judged by the World Bank’s $1.25 a day poverty line. Granted, Africa has shown encouraging signs since the mid 1990s of reversing its past record of relatively poor performance against poverty.
In recent months, the external sector in South Africa has strengthened in ways that are somewhat perplexing. The strengthening has partly to do with weak import demand due to the economic slowdown. But the surprising aspect has been sustained inflows of foreign portfolio investment in South African domestic securities. Just as the news on the real sector and fiscal balances has gotten worse, somewhat paradoxically foreign investors’ appetite for South African securities has grown.
A friend sent this photograph, with the following caption: “Don't let the recession take the flame out of your romantic lives! There's always sunshine in Africa! Resourcefulness at its best....
Last Friday, the World Bank released its Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) of low-income countries. While the assessments are mainly used to determine the allocation of concessional IDA resources to poor countries, they can also provide a useful picture of the evolution of policies and institutions in Africa, as a r
While my blog posts seemed to elicit a fair number of comments, I had been wondering how many of them, if any, were coming from my World Bank colleagues. Last Friday, I got to find out. Our Internal Communications department ran a story on the Bank’s intranet with the headline “The effects of the global recession on Africa will be permanent, says Africa Chief Economist.” The story then linked to my blog post, “Why aid to A