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Zeufack, Albert G.

Office of the Chief Economist for Africa Region
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Zeufack, Albert (ed.)
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Micro-foundations of macroeconomics
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Office of the Chief Economist for Africa Region
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Last updated: April 3, 2023
Biography
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.
Citations 11 Scopus

Publication Search Results

Now showing 1 - 10 of 14
  • Publication
    Borrow with Sorrow? The Changing Risk Profile of Sub-Saharan Africa's Debt
    (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
    Africa's Pulse, No. 23, April 2021: An Analysis of Issues Shaping Africa’s Economic Future
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2021-04) Zeufack, Albert G.; 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
    Housing Finance and Inclusive Growth in Africa: Benchmarking, Determinants and Effects
    (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
    Trade Integration, Export Patterns, and Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa
    (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
    The Dog that Didn’t Bark: The Missed Opportunity of Africa’s Resource Boom
    (Washington, DC : World Bank, 2022-07) Cust, James; Ballesteros, Alexis Rivera; Zeufack, Albert
    The 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
    Africa's Pulse, No. 24, October 2021: An Analysis of Issues Shaping Africa’s Economic Future
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2021-10-06) Zeufack, Albert G.; Kubota, Megumi; Korman, Vijdan; Cantu Canales, Catalina; Kabundi, Alain Ntumba
    In 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
    Africa's Pulse, No. 21, Spring 2020: An Analysis of Issues Shaping Africa’s Economic Future
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-04-08) Zeufack, Albert G.; Kambou, Gerard; Djiofack, Calvin Z.; Kubota, Megumi; Korman, Vijdan; Cantu Canales, Catalina
    The 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
    Female Business Leaders, Business and Cultural Environment, and Productivity around the World
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-06) Fang, Sheng; Goh, Chorching; Roberts, Mark; Xu, L. Colin; Zeufack, Albert
    Studies 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
    Assessing the Returns on Investment in Data Openness and Transparency
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2020-01) Kubota, Megumi; Zeufack, Albert
    This 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
    Africa in the New Trade Environment: Market Access in Troubled Times
    (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.