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 20
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(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, 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.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2019-08) Jones, Patricia ; Lartey, Emmanuel K.K. ; Mengistae, Taye ; Zeufack, AlbertThis paper investigates the sources of growth in manufacturing productivity in Cote D’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Tanzania in comparison with the case of Bangladesh. Based on the analysis of establishment census data since the mid-1990s, it finds that reallocation of market share between firms contributed substantially to productivity growth in each of the four countries, although to a varying extent. In Ethiopia, the impact of market share reallocations among survivors tended to be larger than those associated with increases in within-plant productivity. In addition, plant closure (or exit) boosted productivity more than new plant openings (or entry) did in the sense that the relative productivity of survivors (or continuing plants) was higher relative to that of closing plants (or exit cases) than it was relative to the productivity of newly opening plants (or new entrants). Reallocation of market share plays an important role in raising aggregate productivity in Côte d’Ivoire as well. But the pattern here is opposite to that in Ethiopia in that in Côte d’Ivoire entering (or newly opening) plants have larger impact on aggregate productivity growth than closing (or exiting) plants. Unlike the case with Cote D’Ivoire and of Ethiopia, the reallocation of market share among surviving plants is a smaller source of manufacturing productivity growth in Tanzania than the new plant openings and plant closure. The data suggest that the reallocation of market share among surviving plants and exiting plants has larger impact on productivity growth in Bangladesh than the productivity gap between new plants and survivors, as in the case of Ethiopia.
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, 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.
Sources of Productivity Growth in Uganda: The Role of Interindustry and Intra-industry Misallocation in the 2000s(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2016-12) Dennis, Allen ; Mengistae, Taye ; Yoshino, Yutaka ; Zeufack, AlbertUganda's growth in gross domestic product of the 2000s was accompanied by high growth rates of labor productivity across industries producing tradable goods and services. This came about primarily as a result of investment in equipment and other fixed assets, but also entailed substantial gains in total factor productivity Based on data from two waves of the Uganda Business Indicators survey this paper estimates that economy wide aggregate labor productivity and aggregate TFP grew at average annual rates of 13 t and 3 percent, respectively between survey years 2002 and 2009. Part of the growth in productivity on each measure reflected gains from technical progress made at the establishment level and within narrowly defined industries. But it was also in part the outcome of reallocation of labor and capital within as well as across industries. In particular, the paper estimates that about one-fifth of the aggregate growth in labor productivity between the two years reflected the shifting of labor toward industries and sectors where it was more productive on average and at the margin. The rest of the observed growth in labor productivity reflected gains made within narrowly defined industries. But almost in every case 55 to 90 percent of the observed "within industry" growth in labor productivity represented allocative efficiency gains from the correction of intra-industry inter-firm misallocation of labor. The balance of the observed within-industry growth in labor productivity represented establishment-level gains in technical efficiency.
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.