Zeufack, Albert G.
Office of the Chief Economist for Africa Region
Author Name Variants
Zeufack, Albert (ed.)
Fields of Specialization
Micro-foundations of macroeconomics
Office of the Chief Economist for Africa Region
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated April 3, 2023
Albert G. Zeufack is the World Bank Country Director for Angola, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Sao Tome and Principe. Prior to this assignment, from 2016 to 2022, Dr. Zeufack held the position of Chief Economist for the World Bank’s Africa region. A Cameroonian national, Dr. Zeufack joined the World Bank in 1997 as a Young Professional and started his career as a research economist in the macroeconomics division of the research department. Since then, he has held several positions in the World Bank’s Africa, East Asia and Pacific, and Europe and Central Asia regions. Between 2008 and 2012, when on leave from the World Bank, he served as Director of Research and Investment Strategy/Chief Economist for Khazanah Nasional Berhad, a Malaysian Sovereign Wealth Fund. He previously worked as Director of Research at the Natural Resource Governance Institute, and before that he co-founded the Natural Resource Charter.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 23
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2018-01) Jones, Patricia ; Mengistae, Taye ; Zeufack, AlbertThis paper identifies and estimates the impact of firm entry and exit on plant-level productivity in Ethiopia as part of a selection mechanism that might be driving aggregate productivity growth in cities. Specifically, the paper investigates how firms’ entry and exit contribute to the pace of factor reallocation and total factor productivity growth within industries—and whether these processes occur in higher numbers and rates in larger cities. The analysis is carried out using establishment census data from Ethiopia that cover the period from year 2000 to 2010. Importantly, these data include information on plants’ physical outputs and their prices, which allows distinguishing between revenue-based measures of total factor productivity (TFPR) and those based on physical productivity (TFPQ). The analysis reveals that these two measures generate very different results under imperfect competition, suggesting that physical productivity measures (TFPQ) are better suited to examining firm dynamics when local producers have some degree of market power. In addition, the findings show that less productive (higher cost) firms are more likely to exit than their more productive (lower cost) rivals—but the analysis controls for producers’ transport costs. This is consistent with the probability of firm exit being higher when transport costs are lower.
Optimal Allocation of Natural Resource Surpluses in a Dynamic Macroeconomic Framework: A DSGE Analysis with Evidence from Uganda(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-12) Zeufack, Albert ; Kopoin, Alexandre ; Nganou, Jean-Pascal ; Tchana Tchana, Fulbert ; Kemoe, LaurentIn low-income, capital-scarce economies that face financial and fiscal constraints, managing revenues from newly found natural resources can be a daunting challenge. The policy debate is how to scale up public investment to meet huge needs in infrastructure without generating a higher public deficit, and avoid the Dutch disease. This paper uses an open economy dynamic stochastic general equilibrium model that is compatible with low-income economies and calibrated on Ugandan's data to tackle this problem. The paper explores macroeconomic dynamics under three stylized fiscal policy approaches for managing resource windfalls: investing all in public capital, saving all in a sovereign wealth fund, and a sustainable-investing approach that proposes a constant share of resource revenues to finance public investment and the rest to be saved. The analysis finds that a gradual scaling-up of public investment yields the best outcome, as it minimizes macroeconomic volatility. The analysis then investigates the optimal oil share to use for public investment; the criterion minimizes a loss function that accounts for households' welfare and macroeconomic stability in an environment featuring oil price volatility. The findings show that, depending on the policy maker's preference for stability, 55 to 85 percent of oil windfalls should be invested.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-04-13) Zeufack, Albert G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Kabundi, Alain ; Kubota, Megumi ; Korman, Vijdan ; Raju, Dhushyanth ; Abreha, Kaleb Girma ; Kassa, Woubet ; Owusu, SolomonSub-Saharan Africa's recovery from the pandemic is expected to decelerate in 2022 amid a slowdown in global economic activity, continued supply constraints, outbreaks of new coronavirus variants, climatic shocks, high inflation, and rising financial risks due to high and increasingly vulnerable debt levels. The war in Ukraine has exacerbated the already existing tensions and vulnerabilities affecting the continent. Given the sources of growth in the region and the nature of the economic linkages with Russia and Ukraine, the war in Ukraine might have a marginal impact on economic growth and on overall poverty—as this shock affects mostly the urban poor and vulnerable people living just above the poverty line. However, its largest impact is on the increasing likelihood of civil strife as a result of food- and energy-fueled inflation amid an environment of heightened political instability. The looming threats of stagflation require a two-pronged strategy that combines short-term measures to contain inflationary pressures and medium-to-long-term policies that accelerate the structural transformation and create more and better jobs. In response to supply shocks, monetary policy in the region may prove ineffective to bring down inflation and other short-run options may be restricted by the lack of fiscal space. Concessional financing might be key to helping countries alleviate the impact of food and fuel inflation. Over the medium term, avoiding stagflation may require a combination of actionable measures that improve the resilience of the economy by shoring up productivity and job creation. Lastly, ongoing actions to enhance social protection—including dynamic delivery systems for rapid scalability and shock-sensitive financing—could be strengthened further to improve economic resilience against shocks and foster investments in productive assets.
Market Access, Supplier Access, and Africa's Manufactured Exports : An Analysis of the Role of Geography and Institutions(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2006-06) Elbadawi, Ibrahim ; Mengistae, Taye ; Zeufack, AlbertIn a large cross-country sample of manufacturing establishments drawn from 188 cities, average exports per establishment are smaller for African firms than for businesses in other regions. The authors show that this is mainly because, on average, African firms face more adverse economic geography and operate in poorer institutional settings. Once they control for the quality of institutions and economic geography, what in effect is a negative African dummy disappears from the firm level exports equation they estimate. One part of the effect of geography operates through Africa's lower "foreign market access:" African firms are located further away from wealthier or denser potential export markets. A second occurs through the region's lower "supplier access:" African firms face steeper input prices, partly because of their physical distance from cheaper foreign suppliers, and partly because domestic substitutes for importable inputs are more expensive. Africa's poorer institutions reduce its manufactured exports directly, as well as indirectly, by lowering foreign market access and supplier access. Both geography and institutions influence average firm level exports significantly more through their effect on the number of exporters than through their impact on how much each exporter sells in foreign markets.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-08) Nguimkeu, Pierre ; Zeufack, Albert G.This paper investigates the scale, causes, and timing of significant episodes of industrialization and deindustrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa. Recent studies have argued that the turning point of manufacturing output and employment shares tends to occur prematurely in this region. The analysis is performed using panel data methods for fractional responses and data from a variety of sources for a panel of 41 African countries. The results overwhelmingly do not support the common finding that Sub-Saharan African countries have begun to deindustrialize. Moreover, the study documents meaningful heterogeneity across Sub-Saharan Africa subregions, with the Southern region being the only subregion to have witnessed deindustrialization. However, this deindustrialization of the Southern subregion does not appear to be occurring prematurely. The study also explores the potential role of the Dutch disease and resource curse hypotheses in understanding Sub-Saharan Africa's manufacturing experience in resource rich countries.
Publication(Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-07) Cust, James ; Ballesteros, Alexis Rivera ; Zeufack, AlbertThe commodity price boom from 2004–2014 was a huge economic opportunity for African countries abundant in oil, gas and minerals. During this period their government revenues from resources grew by an average of 1.1 billion US$ per year, and economic growth in those same resource-rich countries surged. GDP growth in resource-rich countries accelerated from 4.6% to 5.4% as countries entered a decade long period of sustained high commodity prices. Nonetheless, the paper traces a significant missed opportunity for resource-rich countries in Africa, with little to show for it in the post-boom period, which saw growth collapse far below pre-boom levels, to 2.7% per annum. This paper considers the record of performance during the boom (2004–2014) and subsequent bust from 2015 onwards. The paper describes four main outcomes of the boom: 1) measures of resource dependency rose in Sub-Saharan Africa during the boom, 2) the growth record was strong during the boom but collapsed once commodity prices fell, 3) poverty and inequality rose during the boom despite strong GDP growth, 4) resource-rich countries failed to diversify both their exports and their asset base, leaving them poorly prepared for the end of the boom and a period of lower commodity prices and subsequent COVID-19 pandemic. The conclusions are stark. During this golden decade of sustained high commodity prices and booming revenues, there was limited re-investment of those revenues into building sustainable assets for the future. In other words, countries consumed the boom, rather than successfully transformed their economies. The conclusion is that many resource-rich countries in the region squandered their “once in a generation” opportunity for economic transformation, offering policy lessons that may prove valuable as we enter a new period of elevated commodity prices.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-01) Calderon, Cesar ; Zeufack, Albert G.In the post-global financial crisis period, the financing of countercyclical policies led not only to a reduction in the fiscal surpluses across Sub-Saharan African countries, but also an increase in their levels of indebtedness. Although public debt for the region in 2018 was still below that of the pre-debt forgiveness period, the risk profile of public debt has sharply increased. The share of concessional public debt has been declining while that owed to private creditors and non–Paris Club bilateral creditors has been rising. The resulting reconfiguration of public debt has led to increased debt service in the region. Hence, the higher risk profile of debt and rising payments might lower the threshold for debt distress in the region. Addressing public debt vulnerabilities requires the buildup of external and fiscal buffers by conducting prudent fiscal policies and implementing growth-enhancing reforms, and the strengthening of debt management practices. However, the policy toolkit can be enlarged by gradually moving from debt management to balance-sheet management of the public sector, and policies to boost the efficiency of public investment.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2003-09) Bigsten, Arne ; Collier, Paul ; Dercon, Stefan ; Fafchamps, Marcel ; Gauthier, Bernard ; Gunning, Jan Willem ; Oduro, Abena ; Oostendorp, Remco ; Pattillo, Cathy ; Soderbom, Mans ; Teal, Francis ; Zeufack, AlbertEmpirical work in labor economics has focused on rent sharing as an explanation for the observed correlation between wages and profitability. The alternative explanation of risk sharing between workers and employers has not been tested. Using a unique panel data set for four African countries, Authors find strong evidence of risk sharing. Workers in effect offer insurance to employers: when firms are hit by temporary shocks, the effect on profits is cushioned by risk sharing with workers. Rent sharing is a symptom of an inefficient labor market. Risk sharing; by contrast, can be seen as an efficient response to missing markets. Authors evidence suggests that risk sharing accounts for a substantial part of the observed effect of shocks on wages.
Publication(World Bank, Washington D.C., 2002-04) Fafchamps, Marcel ; El Hamine, Said ; Zeufack, AlbertThe authors test two alternative models of learning to export: productivity learning, whereby firms learn to reduce production cost, and, market learning, whereby firms learn to design products that appeal to foreign consumers. Using panel, and cross-section data on Moroccan manufacturers, the authors uncover evidence of market learning, but little evidence of productivity learning. These findings are consistent with the concentration of Moroccan manufacturing exports in consumer items - the garment, textile, and leather sectors. It is the young firms that export. Most do so immediately after creation. The authors also find that, among exporters, new products are exported very rapidly after production has begun. The share of exported output nevertheless, increases for 2-3 years after a new product is introduced. Old firms are unlikely to switch to exports, even in response to changes in macroeconomic incentives. The authors find a positive relationship between exports, and productivity, and conclude that it is the result of self-selection: it is the more productive firms that move into exports. Policy implications are discussed.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-05) Zeufack, Albert G. ; Hassine, Nadia Belhaj ; Zeufack, AlbertThe paper investigates the structure and dynamics of consumption inequality and inequality of opportunity in Tanzania. The analysis covers the period 2001 to 2012. It reveals moderate and declining levels of consumption inequality at the national level, but increasing inequalities between geographic regions. Spatial inequalities are mainly driven by the disparities of households’ characteristics and endowments across geographic locations. An important part of these endowments results from intergenerational transmission of parental background. Father’s education appears as the most important background variable affecting consumption and income in Tanzania. Without appropriate policy actions, there are few chances for the next generations to spring out of the poverty and inequality lived by their parents, engendering risks of poverty and inequality traps in the country.