Development Policy Review

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    Reinvigorating Growth in Resource-Rich Sub-Saharan Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-09) Izvorski, Ivailo ; Coulibaly, Souleymane ; Doumbia, Djeneba ; Izvorski, Ivailo
    The strong economic performance of Sub-Saharan Africa’s resource-rich countries since the start of the 21st century has been celebrated as a return to more buoyant growth and renewed convergence with the advanced economies.Despite the recent progress in improving living standards and reducing poverty, achieving high and sustainable growth continues to be the main challenge for policymakers.Rwanda and Ethiopia have led Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) in terms of per-capita growth since 2000, growing faster than South Asia. However, the gap between the resource-rich countries of Africa with East Asia and the Pacific (EAP), SAR, and the advanced economies has widened since 2010, underlining the difficulty of accelerating growth.Africa has often been portrayed as a continent of boundless natural riches that have helped pull the whole subcontinent forward. Indeed, resource-rich Africa accounts for a dominant part of SSA’s economy. Resource-rich SSA accounts for 70 percent of both the subcontinent’s GDP and physical capital, 60 percent of its natural capital, and nearly 40 percent of its population. For the continent in aggregate and in per capita terms, however, natural resources are just a bit higher than in the South Asia Region (SAR) and lag all other developing regions.One way of thinking of strengthening economic growth depends on more exploration and development of natural resources that should help increase the continent’s natural wealth, as has happened in many other developing regions.More importantly, durable prosperity in resource-rich Africa depends on building up the assets, or components of overall wealth, that are in relatively short supply. In recent years, the literature has started to focus on assets and assets diversification as a path to development, and the World Bank has led in this area. In this report, we emphasize the two complementary types of assets that Africa’s resource-rich countries need to build up to accelerate growth: one is within national borders and the other across borders.
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    Botswana Development Policy Review: An Agenda for Competitiveness and Diversification
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-09) World Bank
    Botswana has been one of the most successful countries in the developing world over the last 40 years by many measures. Incomes have grown at a sustained pace, poverty has fallen, and the citizenry has become more educated. To be sure, poverty and income inequalities remain a problem, but rising standards of living have meant a better life for this generation of Batswana than any before it. The question facing the country leadership is whether this commendable performance can be sustained into the next generation. There are clouds on the horizon that cannot be ignored. Diamond earnings, the life blood of decades of prosperity, have flattened out. In per capita terms they are falling. Moreover, because revenues from diamonds going to the public sector have been falling for more than a decade, a growth model predicated upon an ever expanding state presence is not viable. Diamond earnings accruing to the state for subsequent redistribution have peaked. Employment and wages in the public sector have reached their natural limits as a share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP); recycling revenues from mining into the private sector, either directly or through the financial sector, has been inefficient with low social returns; and redistributive mechanisms to support social safety nets are also likely be approaching their limits. The country confronts the challenge of looking for new sources of growth outside of government.
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    De-fragmenting Africa : Deepening Regional Trade Integration in Goods and Services
    (Washington, DC, 2012-01) World Bank
    This book is the result of an extensive agenda of analytical work on regional trade integration in Africa involving staff from various units of the Africa region of the World Bank. The aim of this volume is to provide the main messages from this work to a wide audience the private sector, civil society, key ministries, relevant agencies that is necessary to provide the consensus and broad base for successful implementation of reforms. Africa is not achieving its potential in regional trade. The contributions to this volume highlight the enormous scope for increased cross-border trade in Africa and the reasons why such opportunities are not being exploited. The main objective of this introductory chapter is to draw attention to the key reason why Africa's potential for regional trade remains unexploited: the high transaction costs that face those who trade across borders in Africa. The contributions to the volume discuss a wide range of policy related barriers that drive up costs and limit trade. The chapter starts with a review of recent export performance in Africa, noting the strong growth rates in many countries. However, the impact of such growth on employment and poverty has been much muted and important challenges remain, especially with regard to greater diversification of exports, and it is here that effective regional integration that reduces transaction costs can play a key role. The paper then discusses the key barriers that raise costs for traders and continue to fragment the African market. Finally, the paper ends with some specific recommendations for action that policy makers can take at the regional level to support integrated markets in Africa and discusses how the World Bank and other donors can support those wishing to implement the necessary reforms.