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 18
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(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, 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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2015-12) Ahmed, Sabin ; Mengistae, Taye ; Yoshino, Yutaka ; Zeufack, Albert G.Uganda’s economy underwent significant structural change in the 2000s whereby the share of non-tradable services in aggregate employment rose by about 7 percentage points at the expense of the production of tradable goods. The process also involved a 12-percentage-point shift in employment away from small and medium enterprises and larger firms in manufacturing and commercial agriculture mainly to microenterprises in retail trade. In addition, the sectoral reallocation of labor on these two dimensions coincided with significant growth in aggregate labor productivity. However, in and of itself, the same reallocation could only have held back, rather than aid, the observed productivity gains. This was because labor was more productive throughout the period in the tradable goods sector than in the non-tradable sector. Moreover, the effect on aggregate labor productivity of the reallocation of employment between the two sectors could only have been reinforced by the impacts on the same of the rise in the employment share of microenterprises. The effect was also strengthened by a parallel employment shift across the age distribution of enterprises that raised sharply the employment share of established firms at the expense of younger ones and startups. Not only was labor consistently less productive in microenterprises than in small and medium enterprises and larger enterprises across all industries throughout the period, it was also typically less productive in more established firms than in younger ones.
Market Size, Sunk Costs of Entry, and Transport Costs: An Empirical Evaluation of the Impact of Demand-Side Factors versus Supply-Side Factors on Manufacturing Productivity(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-06) Jones, Patricia ; Lartey, Emmanuel ; Mengistae, Taye ; Zeufack, AlbertThis paper uses plant-level, panel data from the Ethiopian manufacturing census to estimate the effects of demand-side and supply-side factors on industrywide aggregate productivity. The paper focuses on the effects of three factors: (1) local market size, (2) the value of transportation costs that firms incur in selling to customers outside their market, and (3) licensing fees needed to enter the market. Identification is based on a model of production under monopolistic competition, which enables interpreting the estimated coefficients of a reduced form, dynamic productivity equation. The paper analyzes 11 industries in Ethiopia over 2000 to 2010. Several interesting results emerge. In the most parsimonious specification, the estimated coefficients are consistent with all three predictions of the model—but only for one industry: cinder blocks. In this industry, the expansion of the local market boosts industrywide total factor revenue productivity, while increases in transport costs and licensing fees reduce it. The picture is somewhat mixed in the other 10 industries but broadly consistent with the predictions of the model.