This paper explores the causality between public debt, public debt service and economic growth in South Africa covering the period 1970 – 2017. The study employs the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) bounds testing approach to cointegration and the multivariate Granger-causality test. The empirical results indicate that there is unidirectional causality from economic growth to public debt, but only in the short run. However, the study fails to establish any causality between public debt service and economic growth, both in the short run and long run. In line with the empirical evidence, the study concludes that it is economic growth that drives public debt in South Africa, and that the causal relationship between public debt and economic growth is sensitive to the timeframe considered. The paper recommends policymakers in South Africa to consider growth-enhancing policies in the short run, since poor economic performances may lead to high public debt levels.
This paper provides new evidence to contribute to the current debate on the relative impact of public and private investment on economic growth and the crowding effect between the two components of investment in South Africa. Using annual data from 1970 to 2017, the study applies the recently developed Autoregressive Distributed Lag (ARDL)-bounds testing approach to cointegration. The study finds that private investment has a positive impact on economic growth both in the long run and short run, while public investment has a negative effect on economic growth in the long run. Further, in the long run, gross public investment is found to crowd out private investment, while its infrastructural component is found to crowd in private investment. The results of the study also reveal that both gross public investment and non-infrastructural public investment crowd out private investment in the short run. Overall, the study finds private investment to be more important than public investment in the South African economic growth process and that the importance of infrastructural public investment in stimulating private investment in the long run cannot be over-emphasized.
This paper provides a conceptual analysis of government debt servicing in Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2015. The mounting debt burden arising largely from nonconcessionary foreign loans since the 1980s, and the economic hardships that characterise the country beginning the late 1990s, caused dreadful public debt servicing challenges. Thus, the paper discusses the public debt service reforms and policies; trends; and problems in Zimbabwe over the review period. In the paper, it was identified that between 1983 and 1997, the government’s debt servicing costs were growing exponentially, resulting in liquidity challenges. However, between 1998 and 2015, the country had plunged into public debt service overhang, with public debt servicing liabilities exceeding the country’s foreign exchange earnings. Notwithstanding the various public debt servicing reforms to boost domestic revenues, Zimbabwe, as many other developing countries, still faces a number of debt servicing problems. Among others, these include: high government debt, low industrial and export competitiveness, narrow revenue base and subdued investor confidence. The paper recommends the government of Zimbabwe to undertake the following measures, among others, aimed at either boosting or expanding the revenue base: (i) improving tax enforcements; (ii) mobilising the informal sector; and (iii) expanding the productive capacity of public entities.
This paper gives an overview of foreign direct investment (FDI) in South Africa from 1980 to 2017. It highlights trends in FDI inflows, reforms that have been implemented to date, and challenges that need to be addressed in order to increase the FDI inflows into the country. Government reforms on FDI have been two pronged. Firstly, there are policies that are aimed at creating a strong competitive industry and a strong industrial base for investment. Among such policies are trade liberalisation policies, multilateral and regional integration policies, supportive industrial policies, and bilateral trade agreements. Secondly, there are policies that directly target the FDI investment. These policies include, amongst others, investment incentives, regulatory reforms, exchange control relaxation, and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) reforms. The findings from this study show that FDI inflows have increased significantly from 1990 although they still remain depressed.
This study provides an exploratory review of the trends, policy reforms, and determinants of fiscal deficits in Tanzania during the period 1980-2017. During this period, the country undertook various fiscal policy reforms intended to improve revenue mobilization and expenditure efficiency. The most significant of these reforms included the introduction of the semi-autonomous revenue authority and an extensive public financial management reform program. While the post-independence period was characterized by large fiscal deficits, recent trends show that fiscal deficits in Tanzania have been contained, even as some public investment management challenges exist. The review of trends and literature suggests that fiscal deficits are linked to the structure of the economy, low levels of development, donor aid and grants, as well as the overall macroeconomic environment. In particular, fiscal deficits are associated with growth cycles, inflationary episodes, and external sector developments.
This paper provides a conceptual analysis of the dynamics of savings in Lesotho for the period 1960 to 2017. The study is motivated by the low and sometimes negative savings rate and the declining level of economic growth prevailing in Lesotho during the period from 1960 to 2017. The study analyses the behaviour of savings in Lesotho, using the savings trends for the country ever since it obtained independence in 1966. The study further examines the policies that the government of Lesotho has implemented in order to promote savings in the country. The government adopted a policy on rural savings and credit schemes as a means of promoting savings in Lesotho. The purpose of the policy is to improve access to credit for the rural population. The study has identified some challenges that impede savings mobilization in Lesotho. The major savings challenge in Lesotho is the lack of banking facilities in rural areas.
This paper aims to survey the existing literature, both theoretical and empirical, on the relationship between monetary policy and economic growth. While there has been a wide range of studies on the existing relationship between monetary policy and economic growth, the nexus between the two remains inconclusive. This paper takes a comprehensive view of the theoretical evolution of the relationship and the respective recent empirical findings. Overall, this paper shows that the majority of findings support the relevancy of monetary policy in supporting economic growth, mainly in financially developed economies with fairly independent central banks. The relationship tends to be weaker in developing economies with structural weaknesses and underdeveloped financial markets that are weakly integrated into global markets. This paper concludes that monetary policy matters for growth both in the short-run and long-run despite the prevailing ambiguous relationship. The paper recommends intensive financial development measure for developing countries as well as structural reforms to address to supply side deficiencies.
This paper investigates the dynamic causal relationship between bank-based financial development and economic growth, and between market-based financial development and economic growth in six countries during the period from 1980 to 2012. The causal relationship was found to vary largely across countries and over time. In general, bank-based financial development seems to Granger-cause economic growth in the UK and only in the long run in Australia. However, there is a feedback loop in Brazil and Australia, but only in the short run for the latter. In Kenya, South Africa and USA, the results support the neutrality hypothesis. The study results further indicate short-run unidirectional causality from market-based financial development to economic growth in the USA. Evidence of the feedback loop was found in Kenya, while the demand-following hypothesis found support only in South Africa and Brazil. However, the neutrality view was supported in Australia and the UK.
This paper explores the dynamics of public and private debt in Ghana for the past 32 years. Ghana’s total public debt stock to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio has remained above the 60.0% sustainability threshold recommended by the West Africa Monetary Zone (WAMZ) since 2013. Implemented bank reforms in the country show an upward trend for domestic credit to private sector by banks as a percentage of GDP. Using exploratory review approach, the paper identified fiscal dominance, cost of borrowing, deterioration in export earnings, ineffective fiscal, monetary and debt management policies coordination as factors responsible for changes in total public debt stock. On the other hand, increased domestic borrowings by government from the banks, and Deposit Money Banks’ (DMBs)’ adverse selection in private sector credit allocation affect changes in domestic credit to the private sector by banks. Of these causes, fiscal dominance is the major determinant of public and private debt in Ghana. The study, therefore, recommends that government should pursue fiscal operations that are necessary to put public debt on a declining path. In addition, effective coordination of fiscal, monetary and debt management policies need to be strengthened together with the autonomy of the Bank of Ghana in the use of its monetary policy instruments.
This paper aims to analyses the trends and dynamics of extreme poverty in developing countries. The study attempts to answer one critical question: has the world achieved its number one Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of reducing extreme poverty by half by 2015? The methodology used in this study mainly involves a descriptive data analysis during the period 1981-2015. The study used the World Bank’s US$1.90 a day line (popularly known as $1 a day line) in 2011 prices to measure the level of absolute poverty. In order to analyze the dynamics of poverty across different regions, the study grouped countries into five regions: i) sub-Saharan Africa; ii) East Asia and the Pacific; iii) South Asia; iv) Europe and Central Asia; and v) Latin America and the Caribbean. The study found that in 1990, there were around 1.9 billion people living below US$1.90 a day (constituting 36.9 percent of the world population) and this number is estimated to have reduced to around 700 million people in 2015, with an estimated global poverty rate of 9.6 percent. The world met the MDG target in 2010, which is five years ahead of schedule. However, extreme poverty is becoming increasingly concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Asia (SA), where its depth and breadth remain a challenge. SSA remains the poorest region, with more than 35 percent of its citizens living on less than US$1.90 a day. Half of the world’s extremely poor people now live in SSA, and it is the only region which has not met its MDG target.