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 11
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(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2022-02-10) Coulibaly, Souleymane ; Kassa, Woubet ; Zeufack, Albert G. ; Mattoo, Aaditya ; Coulibaly, Souleymane ; Kassa, Woubet ; Zeufack, Albert G.Sub-Saharan Africa represents only a small share of global production and trade while hosting half of the extreme poor worldwide. To catch up with the rest of the world, the continent has no alternative: it must undertake reforms to scale up its supply capacity while better linking its production and trade to the global economy. If it does so, it stands to gain from unlimited demand and innovation along the supply chain. Some progress has been made over the past decade, with the region’s exports and imports growing rapidly. Because most African economies rely heavily on trade for a large share of national income, they will also be more vulnerable to the trade disruptions of external shocks, as illustrated by the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Africa in the New Trade Environment: Market Access in Troubled Times provides a comprehensive, state-of-the-art analysis by a team of renowned trade economists who present a strategy to bolster Sub-Saharan Africa’s market access in the current global environment.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-01) Calderon, Cesar ; Cantu, Catalina ; Zeufack, Albert G.This paper examines systematically the growth effects of trade integration in Sub-Saharan Africa. It complements and improves upon the empirical literature in two aspects: first, it jointly estimates the impact of different dimensions of trade integration, namely, trade volumes, export/trade patterns by product (primary and manufacturing goods), and by destination (inter- and intra-regional). Second, it estimates the impact of trade integration on economic growth and its sources, that is, capital accumulation and total factor productivity growth. The analysis finds causal evidence that trade integration fosters growth. Additionally, manufacturing trade boosts growth and trade in primary goods hampers growth. Doubling the manufacturing trade share in Sub-Saharan Africa's gross domestic product would increase growth by 1.9 percentage points per year, while increases in primary trade reduce growth by 1 percentage point. This impact is mainly transmitted through lower capital accumulation. Finally, inter- and intra-regional trade have a positive impact on growth in Sub-Saharan Africa. Doubling inter-regional trade will increase growth by 1.9 percentage points, and the same increase for intra-regional trade enhances growth by 0.6 percentage points. The effects of inter-regional trade are transmitted primarily through capital accumulation, while those of intra-regional trade are channeled through enhanced total factor productivity growth.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-01) Kubota, Megumi ; Zeufack, AlbertThis paper investigates the potential benefits for a country from investing in data transparency. The paper shows that increased data transparency can bring substantive returns in lower costs of external borrowing. This result is obtained by estimating the impact of public data transparency on sovereign spreads conditional on the country's level of institutional quality and public and external debt. While improving data transparency alone reduces the external borrowing costs for a country, the return is much higher when combined with stronger institutional quality and lower public and external debt. Similarly, the returns on investing in data transparency are higher when a country's integration to the global economy deepens, as captured by trade and financial openness. Estimation of an instrumental variable regression shows that Sub-Saharan African countries could have saved up to 14.5 basis points in sovereign bond spreads and decreased their external debt burden by US$405.4 million (0.02 percent of gross domestic product) in 2018, if their average level of data transparency was that of a country in the top quartile of the upper-middle-income country category. At the country level, Angola could have reduced its external debt burden by around US$73.6 million.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10) Abreha, Kaleb ; Lartey, Emmanuel ; Mengistae, Taye ; Owusu, Solomon ; Zeufack, AlbertAfrica's linkages in manufacturing global value chains are reasonably high compared with other developing regions. Still, linkage rates have declined steeply in recent years in non-resource rich countries in the region although they have increased sharply in countries that are rich in natural resources. Moreover, the level and dynamics of linkages to manufacturing global value chains vary significantly between countries within each group of natural resource endowments. The current levels, activity structure, and geographic configuration of linkage rates evolved over the past 20 years. In addition, these linkages cut across broad activity categories, including manufacturing textiles and apparel, metal products, transport equipment, and electrical goods. This paper analyzes the sources of the variation in linkage rates in the framework of an estimated gravity and linear probability model. It is shown that the domestic actors in these linkages are typically relatively large establishments (100 or more employees) and have been in operation for five years or longer. These manufacturers are also more likely to have foreign equity holders or foreign technology licenses. These findings should be seen in the light of policies that promote industrialization by facilitating integration into manufacturing global value chains at links that maximize job and productivity gains.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-12) Diallo, Boubacar ; Tchana Tchana, Fulbert ; Zeufack, Albert G.This paper explores the landscape, contributions, and determinants of sovereign wealth funds' long-term investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. The study finds that of all regions, Africa receives the lowest share of investment from sovereign wealth funds, and the landscape is dominated by Asian funds. The investment strategies of sovereign wealth funds established by African countries tend to be to invest less domestically and more abroad, contrary to Asian funds. In addition, using an enriched simple mean-variance portfolio model with an exponential utility function, the analysis shows that the investment rate of return and political connections have a positive and significant effect on sovereign wealth fund investments, and risk exerts a negative but not significant effect. The paper confirms these results empirically, using a database that includes 26 sovereign wealth fund investments over 1985-2013. Hence, sovereign wealth funds investing in Africa care more about high returns and the political interests of their country of origin than the risk of their investment.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-04-08) Zeufack, Albert G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Kambou, Gerard ; Djiofack, Calvin Z. ; Kubota, Megumi ; Korman, Vijdan ; Cantu Canales, CatalinaThe COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on human life and brought major disruption to economic activity across the world. Despite a late arrival, the COVID-19 virus has spread rapidly across Sub-Saharan Africa in recent weeks. Eeconomic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to decline from 2.4 percent in 2019 to -2.1 to -5.1 percent in 2020, the first recession in the region in 25 years. The coronavirus is hitting the region’s three largest economies —Nigeria, South Africa, and Angola— in a context of persistently weak growth and investment. In particular, countries that depend on oil and mining exports would be hit the hardest. The negative impact of the COVID-19 crisis on household welfare would be equally dramatic. African policymakers need to develop a two-pronged strategy of “saving lives and protecting livelihoods.” This strategy includes (short-term) relief measures and (medium-term) recovery measures aimed at strengthening health systems, providing income support to workers and liquidity support to viable businesses. However, financing of these policies will be challenging amid deteriorating fiscal positions and heightened public debt vulnerabilities. Therefore, African countries will require financial assistance from their development partners -including COVID-19 related multilateral assistance and a debt service stand still with official bilateral creditors.
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, 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(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-10-07) Zeufack, Albert G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Kambou, Gerard ; Kubota, Megumi ; Cantu Canales, Catalina ; Korman, VijdanCOVID-19 has taken a large toll on economic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa, putting a decade of hard-won economic progress at risk. The pandemic is pushing the region into its first recession in 25 years. In 2020, GDP per capita is expected to contract by 6.5 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa and by the end of 2021, it’s likely to have regressed back to its 2007’s level. As a consequence, COVID-19 could push up to 43 million people into extreme poverty in Africa, erasing at least five years of progress in fighting poverty. The road to recovery will be long, steep, and must be paved with sound economic policies. Countries need to reconstitute fiscal space to help finance programs that can stimulate recovery. Better debt transparency and management, better service delivery, civil society engagement and less corruption will be critical. Ultimately, sustained recovery will depend on how fast African countries prioritize policy actions and investment that address the challenge of creating more, better and inclusive jobs. These policy priorities, in turn, operate through three critical (an inter-related) channels: the digital transformation, the sectoral reallocation, and the the spatial integration. Countries must expand digital infrastructure and make connectivity affordable, reliable and universal across Africa. Shifting resources towards non-traditional economic sectors with higher productivity, lower volatility and greater value addition, fully leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will be equally critical. Finally, fostering the reallocation of resources from less to more efficient job-creating locations through enhanced rural-urban, inland-coastal connectivity will be key to jobs and economic transformation. Interestingly, number of countries, especially in the East African Community and in the West African Monetary Union are seizing the opportunity of the crisis to accelerate these reforms.