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 14
Publication(Taylor and Francis, 2021-04) Nguena, Christian-Lambert ; Tchana, Fulbert Tchana ; Zeufack, Albert G.Using a panel database of 48 Sub-Saharan African countries from 2000 to 2012 that we partially constructed, this paper analyses the structure of housing finance in Africa, its determinants, and its impact on inclusive growth. We find that market capitalization and urbanization are key positive determinants of housing finance, while a post-conflict environment is conducive to greater housing finance development. This result suggests that housing finance is driven by standard market forces of demand and supply. Besides, we find that housing finance development in Africa is not yet an effective tool for reducing economic inequality, at its current, very earlier stage. However, we show that above a given threshold, housing finance could be efficient at reducing inequality. Finally, there is a slightly positive relationship between housing finance and greater economic development in Africa. All these findings suggest that policies to boost housing finance development in Africa would be fruitful in the medium to long terms.
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.
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(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.
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, 2021-04) Zeufack, Albert G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Kambou, Gerard ; Kubota, Megumi ; Korman, Vijdan ; Cantu Canales, Catalina ; Aviomoh, Henry E.The economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa has been severe; however, countries are weathering the storm so far. Real GDP is estimated to contract by 2.0 percent in 2020—close to the lower bound of the forecast range in April 2020, and less than the contraction in advanced economies and other emerging markets and developing economies, excluding China. Available data from the second half of 2020 point to rebound in economic activity that explain why the contraction in the region was in the lower bound of the forecasts. It reflected a slower spread of the virus and lower COVID-19-related mortality in the region, strong agricultural growth, and a faster-than-expected recovery in commodity prices. Economic activity in the region is expected to rise to a range between2.3 and 3.4 percent in 2021, depending on the policy measures adopted by countries and the international community. However, prospects for a slow vaccine rollout, the resurgence of pandemic, and limited scope for additional fiscal support, could hold back the recovery in the region. Policies to support the economy in the near term should be complemented by structural reforms that encourage sustained investment, create jobs and enhance competitiveness. Reducing the countries’ debt burden will release resources for public investment, in areas such as education, health, and infrastructure. Investments in human capital will help lower the risk of long-lasting damage from the pandemic which may become apparent over the longer term, and can enhance competitiveness and productivity. The next twelve months will be a critical period for leveraging the African Continental Free Trade Area in order to deepen African countries’ integration into regional and global value chains. Finally, reforms that address digital infrastructure gaps and make the digital economy more inclusive –ensuring affordability but also building skills for all segments of society, are critical to improve connectivity, boost digital technology adoption, and generate more and better jobs for men and women.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-10-06) Zeufack, Albert G. ; Calderon, Cesar ; Kubota, Megumi ; Korman, Vijdan ; Cantu Canales, Catalina ; Kabundi, Alain NtumbaIn 2021, Sub-Saharan Africa emerged from the recession, but its recovery is still timid and fragile. The region is projected to grow at a rate of 3.3 percent—a weaker pace of recovery than that of advanced and emerging market economies. In 2022–23, the region is projected to grow at rates below 4 percent; however, growth above 5 percent is attainable with rapid vaccine deployment in the region and thereby withdrawal of COVID-19 containment measures. In response to the pandemic, African countries are undertaking structural and economic reforms. Countries have been relatively disciplined on monetary and fiscal policies. However, limited fiscal space is handicapping African countries in injecting the fiscal resources required to launch a vigorous policy response to COVID-19.Accelerating the economic recovery in the region would require significant additional externalfinancing, in addition to rapid deployment of the vaccine. Africa’s unique conditions, such as low baseline development, preexisting climate vulnerabilities, low use of fossil fuel energy, and high reliance on climate-sensitive agriculture, pose additional challenges from climate change, but also provide opportunities to build and use greener technologies. Climate change should be considered by policymakers as a source of structural change. For instance, the energy access problem in the region can be solved by the adoption of renewable energy alongside expansion of the national grid. Policy makers need domestic and international financing to create new jobs—including green jobs. For example, in a region where much of the infrastructure, cities, and transportation systems are yet to be built, investments in climate-smart infrastructure can help cities create jobs. In resource-rich countries, wealth exposure to carbon risk can be reduced by fostering asset diversification that supports human and renewable natural capital accumulation. Financing climate change adaptation in Sub-Saharan Africa is essential, and policies to mobilize resources are critical to create more, better, and sustainable jobs.
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, 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.