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 - 8 of 8
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.
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(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, 2020-06) Fang, Sheng ; Goh, Chorching ; Roberts, Mark ; Xu, L. Colin ; Zeufack, AlbertStudies of female business leaders and economic performance are rarely conducted with worldwide observational data, and with considerations on the underlying cultural, institutional, and business environment. This paper uses worldwide, firm-level data from more than 100 countries to study how female-headed firms differ from male-headed firms in productivity level and growth, and whether the female leader performance disparity hinges on the underlying environment. Female-headed firms account for about 11 percent of firms and are more prevalent in countries with better rule of law, gender equality, and stronger individualistic culture. On average, female-headed firms have 9 to 16 percent lower productivity and 1.6 percentage points lower labor productivity growth, compared with male-headed firms. The disadvantage is mainly in manufacturing firms, largely nonexistent in service firms, and present in relatively small firms. Although the female leader performance disadvantage is surprisingly not related to gender equality, it is smaller where there is less emphasis on personal networks (better rule of law, lower trade credit linkages, lower usage of bank credit, and more equalizing internet), less competition, and the culture is more collective. The study does not find that the female leader disadvantage is amplified in corrupt environments. Africa differs significantly in that it features lower female disadvantage, stronger female advantage in services relative to manufacturing, and stronger sensitivity of female business leaders to electricity provision and bank credit access.
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(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-11-23) Abreha, Kaleb G. ; Kassa, Woubet ; Lartey, Emmanuel K.K. ; Mengistae, Taye A. ; Owusu, Solomon ; Zeufack, Albert G.Industrialization drives the sustained growth in jobs and productivity that marks the developmental take-off of most developed economies. Yet, academics and policy makers have questioned the role of manufacturing in development for late industrializers, especially in view of rapid advancements in technologies and restructuring of international trade. Concurrently, industrialization and structural transformation are integral to the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the development strategies of several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Given this renewed interest in industrialization across the region, a central question is not whether SSA countries should pursue industrialization as a potential path to sustainable growth but how to promote the prospects of industrialization. Industrialization in Sub-Saharan Africa: Seizing Opportunities in Global Value Chains addresses this question by reassessing the prospects for industrialization in SSA countries through integration into global value chains. It also examines the role of policy in enhancing these prospects. The main findings indicate that • SSA has not experienced premature deindustrialization; the region has witnessed substantial growth in manufacturing jobs despite a lack of improvement in the contribution of manufacturing value-added to GDP. • The region’s integration into manufacturing global value chains is reasonably high but it is dominated by exports of primary products and engagement in low-skill tasks. • Global value chain integration has led to job growth, and backward integration is associated with more job creation. The report emphasizes the role of policy in maintaining a competitive market environment, promoting productivity growth, and investing in skills development and enabling sectors such as infrastructure and finance. Policy makers can strengthen the global value chain linkages by (1) increasing the value-added content of current exports, (2) upgrading into high-skill tasks, and (3) creating comparative advantages in knowledge-intensive industries.