In recent years, small middle-income countries (SMICs) in sub-Saharan Africa have enjoyed stronger growth and economic development than most other countries in the region. More recently, however, a number of external developments have led to headwinds and a slowdown in economic activity. These challenges call for SMICs in the region to adjust their policies to preserve stability and restore growth, while at the same time deciding on the structural reforms that will set the basis for long-term growth and a transition to high-income status.
On February 22, the Brookings Africa Growth Initiative hosted a discussion on the new book by the International Monetary Fund, “Africa on the Move: Unlocking the Potential of Small Middle-Income States,” which explores policy options that address these challenges and realize future opportunities through the analysis of macroeconomic and structural issues facing SMIC countries. The policies discussed in the book lay out a possible roadmap to implement reforms in all these areas to propel SMICs eventually to high-income status. Discussants will cover many of the topics in the book, including SMICs’ macroeconomic vulnerability and their resilience to shocks; reforms that improve labor market outcomes; structural policies and institutional frameworks that could boost productivity growth; stability- and growth-friendly financial inclusion policies; and strategies for relaxing political economy constraints for paving the way for gradual but systematic implementation of reforms.
IMF Africa Department Director Antoinette Sayeh presented the key themes of the book, after which there was a panel discussion moderated by Amadou Sy.