Travaux de recherches
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Résumé : The objective of this study is to assess whether the formation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 1992 has led to (i) convergence in real income or “catch- up” growth across the countries within the region or higher growth in the region as compared to advanced economies over the past two decades; and (ii) convergence in indicators of macroeconomic stability and/or the harmonization of macroeconomic policies within the region. The paper investigates convergence in real per capita GDP and macroeconomic policy and stability indicators within the SADC, using primarily the concepts of beta and sigma convergence and common stochastic trends. Empirical tests for the period 1992-2009 showed no evidence of absolute beta and sigma convergence in real per capita GDP among the SADC economies. Although, absence of convergence does not necessarily imply lack of economic growth, further empirical assessment of possible conditional beta convergence did not reveal any tendency of convergence to own steady states. On an individual level, however, ADF unit root test indicated that Botswana and South Africa’s real per capita GDP converged to a common stochastic trend while the rest were characterized by a boundless drift. With regard to the SADC macroeconomic convergence goals set for 2012, the findings indicate that most of the economies of the member states have shown a tendency of macroeconomic divergence in 2009 in monetary policy, fiscal policy, and foreign exchange reserve ratios. Since member countries are at varied levels of economic development, the goals themselves must be conditional on the level of convergence in economic structure and hence macroeconomic convergence may not be attainable. Furthermore, achieving the targets may be neither necessary nor sufficient to achieve good macroeconomic outcomes. We made further attempt to identify possible club convergence within SADC free trade area using Common Monetary Area criterion, including South Africa, Lesotho, Namibia and Swaziland. The result indicates that the real per capita GDP level of the CMA economies did not converge to the South African real GDP per capita level during the 18 years under consideration. The crucial implications of the above results are that the establishment of regional trading block did not enhance economic performance in the poorer member states in SADC during the 18 years under consideration. Poor member states failed to catch up with the more developed countries within the region. The same countries that were richer 18 years ago are richer today and the poorer countries remained largely poorer. This is not to suggest that regional trade agreements and economic blocks do not promote economic performance and help poor countries to catch up. It is rather the way member countries implement the regional integration agreements that matter most. Duplication of membership among the several Regional Economic Communities, low savings and investment, shortages of high level skills, high level of unemployment, inadequate and substandard infrastructure, and insignificant production and manufacturing capability all contributed to slow economic growth and lack of convergence in real per capita GDP. Regional economies need to urgently address these challenges in order to achieve deeper economic integration and catch up with the more developed economies in the sub region and the rest of the world. Macroeconomic policy strategies should also be designed conditional on the actual degree of convergence in the economic structure.
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Cette série présente les résultats de la recherche sur des sujets ayant trait aux questions de politiques de développement en Afrique. Les soumissions de Travaux de Recherche en Economie peuvent émaner de tous les professionnels, veuillez consulter l’information aux auteurs pour de plus amples détails.