Blimpo, Moussa

Office of the Regional Chief Economist, Africa, The World Bank
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Economics of Education, Public Economics, Energy Economics, Electricity Access, Human Capital
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Office of the Regional Chief Economist, Africa, The World Bank
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Last updated March 13, 2023
Moussa P. Blimpo is a Senior Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist for the Africa Region (AFRCE) of the World Bank. Prior to this, he was an assistant professor of economics and international studies at the University of Oklahoma. His research interests cover a range of policy-relevant questions concerning African economies. His recent research and publications address issues of electricity access in Sub-Saharan Africa, the role of disruptive technologies on the prospects of African economies to leapfrog and address key development challenges, and human capital acquisition in African countries. He holds a PhD in economics from New York University and spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University’s Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR). He founded, and led between 2011 and 2015, the Center for Research and Opinion Polls (CROP), a think tank based in Togo.

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 2 of 2
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    Digital Africa: Technological Transformation for Jobs
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2023-03-13) Begazo, Tania ; Dutz, Mark Andrew ; Blimpo, Moussa
    All African countries need better and more jobs for their growing populations. "Digital Africa: Technological Transformation for Jobs" shows that broader use of productivity-enhancing, digital technologies by enterprises and households is imperative to generate such jobs, including for lower-skilled people. At the same time, it can support not only countries’ short-term objective of postpandemic economic recovery but also their vision of economic transformation with more inclusive growth. These outcomes are not automatic, however. Mobile internet availability has increased throughout the continent in recent years, but Africa’s uptake gap is the highest in the world. Areas with at least 3G mobile internet service now cover 84 percent of Africa’s population, but only 22 percent uses such services. And the average African business lags in the use of smartphones and computers as well as more sophisticated digital technologies that catalyze further productivity gains. Two issues explain the usage gap: affordability of these new technologies and willingness to use them. For the 40 percent of Africans below the extreme poverty line, mobile data plans alone would cost one-third of their incomes—in addition to the price of access devices, apps, and electricity. Data plans for small- and medium-size businesses are also more expensive than in other regions. Moreover, shortcomings in the quality of internet services—and in the supply of attractive, skills-appropriate apps that promote entrepreneurship and raise earnings—dampen people’s willingness to use them. For those countries already using these technologies, the development payoffs are significant. New empirical studies for this report add to the rapidly growing evidence that mobile internet availability directly raises enterprise productivity, increases jobs, and reduces poverty throughout Africa. To realize these and other benefits more widely, Africa’s countries must implement complementary and mutually reinforcing policies to strengthen both consumers’ ability to pay and willingness to use digital technologies. These interventions must prioritize productive use to generate large numbers of inclusive jobs in a region poised to benefit from a massive, youthful workforce—one projected to become the world’s largest by the end of this century.
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    Electricity Provision and Tax Mobilization in Africa
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-04) Blimpo, Moussa ; Mensah, Justice Tei ; Opalo, K. Ochieng’ ; Shi, Ruifan
    This paper provides evidence on how the provision of social infrastructure, such as reliable electricity, can be leveraged to increase taxation in developing countries, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa. First, using comprehensive data from the latest round of the Afrobarometer survey, the paper uses the instrumental variable approach to estimate the effect of access to and reliability of electricity on the tax compliance attitudes of citizens in 36 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. The evidence shows a significant positive effect of electrification on tax compliance attitudes, with potentially strong externalities. The analysis also finds that the reliability of supply is crucial in explaining the impact of electricity access on attitudes toward taxes. Second, the paper provides suggestive evidence on national identity as one channel driving this impact. Access to social amenities such as electricity induces a sense of national identity among citizens, thereby incentivizing them to contribute, through taxes, toward the functioning of the state. Third, using data from the most recent World Bank Enterprise Surveys and under conservative assumptions, the paper estimates that countries in the region could in total generate additional tax revenues of more than $9.5 billion (4.3 percent of total tax revenue) per year solely by resolving issues related to electricity shortages. Put together, the paper concludes that the financial returns associated with public investments toward improving access to and reliability of electricity are substantial and could be harnessed to augment the financing gap in the sector.