The Dog that Didn't Bark: The Missed Opportunity of Africa's Resource Boom
James Cust, Alexis Rivera Ballesteros and Albert Zeufack
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...
Resource-Backed Loans in Sub-Saharan Africa
David Mihalyi, Jyhjong Hwang, Diego Rivetti and James Cust
This paper investigates the characteristics of resource-backed lending across Sub-Saharan Africa. To shed light on this type of lending, the paper presents new information on 30 resource-backed loans between 2004 and 2018, identified through publicly available information. These loans were concentrated in a few countries, where they represented a sizable fraction of all borrowing and were typically taken by central governments and state-owned enterprises. Although the loan terms are mostly opaque, where data are available, the study finds that such loans are not cheaper than regular loans. The paper highlights opportunities to transparency and offers some suggestions for improving the governance of collateralized borrowings across developing countries.
Africa's Resource Export Opportunities and the Global Energy Transition
Clara Galeazzi, Jevgenijs Steinbuks and James Cust
Sub-Saharan Africa has vast non-fuel mineral resources that in some countries constitute major shares of their gross domestic product. The region also contains large oil and natural gas resources, which have been reliable sources of revenue for decades. The region as a whole may be able to prosper from the global shift from oil and gas to renewable energy, but individual countries will feel the impact of the shift in different ways. To predict how these impacts may be felt - and what can be done to strengthen opportunities for export - estimates of trade elasticities of hydrocarbons and nonhydrocarbon metals and minerals provide a valuable guide.
Natural Resource Discoveries, Citizen Expectations and Household Decisions
James Cust and Justice Tei Mensah
Major oil and gas discoveries are often associated with excitement and jubilation among citizens and government officials. But the extent to which discoveries substantially alter citizen expectations about economic conditions in a country remains an open question. The paper combines Afrobarometer data on household expectations on economic conditions and living standards with the announcement of oil and gas discoveries in Africa to estimate the effect of discoveries on expectations...
Countries that strike it rich when exploring for oil and gas often fail to see growth materialize. This paper shows that one way things can get messy is via squandering new wealth, based on future resource revenues, on arms imports. In the five years following a giant oil or gas discovery, arms imports increase by 25 percent. The effect is even larger, at 51 percent, when the price of oil is as high as $80 per barrel. These estimates can be interpreted causally as the timing of giant oil discoveries is unpredictable due to the uncertain nature of exploration.
Maty Konte and Rose Camille Vincent
This paper investigates the local effects of mining on the quality of public services and on people's optimism about their future living conditions. It also assesses the mediating role of local institutions and local governments taxing rights in shaping the proximity-to-mine effects. The empirical framework connects more than 130,000 respondents from the Afrobarometer survey data (2005-2015) to their closest mines based on the geolocation coordinates of the enumeration areas (EA) and data on the mines and their respective status from the SNL Metals & Mining...
This paper reviews resource sector developments in 12 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa that made their first (major) petroleum discoveries during the most recent commodity boom. The analysis, which goes back to 2001, looks at sector forecasts of international organizations, governments, and companies and compares them with the results that emerged. The paper finds that a third of the countries did not make any commercially viable discoveries...
Arthur Mendes and Steven Pennings
Commodity-exporting developing economies are often characterized as having needlessly procyclical fiscal policy: spending when commodity prices are high and cutting back when prices fall. The standard policy advice is instead to save during price windfalls and maintain spending during price busts. This paper questions this characterization and policy advice. Using a New Keynesian model, it finds that optimal fiscal policy is heterogeneous depending on the commodity exported and exchange rate regime...