Uganda’s Recipe for Growth

By IMFBlog

July 21, 2017

Construction worker in Uganda (photo: James Akena/Reuters/Newscom)

After two decades of steady growth, Uganda’s economy has slowed, and life for Ugandans is not improving fast enough.

Drought in the Horn of Africa, regional conflict, and slow credit growth have contributed to this decline, with per capita growth falling to ½ percent from an average of 5 percent for the past 20 years.

In this podcast, the IMF’s Mission Chief for Uganda, Axel Schimmelpfennig, says that some strategic infrastructure investment, better debt management, and tapping into Uganda's new-found oil reserves could help turn the economy around.

“In our estimates the revenues could range on an annual basis from about ½ percent GDP initially to about 4 percent at peak production, he says. “The challenge that many oil producers face is to manage this well.”

Schimmelpfennig says the government is planning to start oil production in 2020, and reap the benefits for almost 30 years.

Schimmelpfennig adds that the Ugandan government is focused on the efficiency of its public investment. “By picking the right projects, making sure they are prepared the right way and executed properly, at the end of the day, infrastructure investment can give Uganda high growth,” he says.

In the meantime, Schimmelpfennig says, the government has plans to increase revenue collection. The IMF has been helping the country improve its tax collection including that of international companies doing business in Uganda.

“It’s a global phenomenon, actually—companies can choose the way they structure their businesses—if they want to pay taxes in Uganda or somewhere else. So, you want to make sure that companies pay taxes for the activities in your country.”

Listen to the full podcast and read the IMF staff report on the latest economic health check of Uganda.

Peer Pressure: Tax Competition and Developing Economies

By Michael Keen and Jim Brumby

July 11, 2017

Versions in عربي (Arabic), 中文 (Chinese), Français (French),  日本語 (Japanese), Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

A salesman checks an iphone in New Delhi, India: governments compete to attract investors with low corporate tax rates (photo: Adnan Abidi/Reuters/Newscom)

Economists tend to agree on the importance of competition for a sound market economy. So, what’s the problem when it comes to governments competing to attract investors through the tax treatment they provide? The trouble is that by competing with one another and eroding each other’s revenues, countries end up having to rely on other—typically more distortive—sources of financing or reduce much-needed public spending, or both. Continue reading “Peer Pressure: Tax Competition and Developing Economies” »

The Case for Fiscal Policy to Support Structural Reforms

By Angana Banerji, Era Dabla-Norris, Romain Duval, and Davide Furceri

Versions in 中文 (Chinese), Français (French),Deutsch (German), Русский (Russian), and Español (Spanish)

Many advanced countries need  structural reforms to make their economies more productive and raise long-term living standards.  Our new research shows that provided countries can afford it, fiscal policy, through spending or tax incentives, can help governments overcome some obstacles to the reforms, particularly in the early stages.   Continue reading “The Case for Fiscal Policy to Support Structural Reforms” »

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