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The Monetary Geography of Africa
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The Monetary Geography of Africa (Hardback)

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Synopsis

Africa is working toward the goal of creating a common currency that would serve as a symbol of African unity. The advantages of a common currency include lower transaction costs, increased stability, and greater insulation of central banks from pressures to provide monetary financing. Disadvantages relate to asymmetries among countries, especially in their terms of trade and in the degree of fiscal discipline. More disciplined countries will not want to form a union with countries whose excessive spending puts upward pressure on the central bank's monetary expansion. In The Monetary Geography of Africa, Paul Masson and Catherine Pattillo review the history of monetary arrangements on the continent and analyze the current situation and prospects for further integration. They apply lessons from both experience and theory that lead to a number of conclusions. To begin with, West Africa faces a major problem because Nigeria has both asymmetric terms of trade -it is a large oil exporter while its potential partners are oil importers -and most important, large fiscal imbalances. Secondly, a monetary union among all eastern or southern African countries seems infeasible at this stage, since a number of countries suffer from the effects of civil conflicts and drought and are far from achieving the macroeconomic stability of South Africa.Lastly, the plan by Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda to create a common currency seems to be generally compatible with other initiatives that could contribute to greater regional solidarity. However, economic gains would likely favor Kenya, which, unlike the other two countries, has substantial exports to its neighbors, and this may constrain the political will needed to proceed. A more promising strategy for monetary integration would be to build on existing monetary unions -the CFA franc zone in western and central Africa and the Common Monetary Area in southern Africa.Masson and Pattillo argue that the goal of a creating a single African currency is probably beyond reach. Economic realities suggest that grand new projects for African monetary unions are unlikely to be successful. More important for Africa's economic well-being will be to attack the more fundamental problems of corruption and governance.

BusinessEconomics Publisher: Brookings Institution Publication Date: 01/11/2004 ISBN-13: 9780815755005  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
Availability: To Order. Estimated despatch in 1-3 weeks.  

Paul R. Masson is a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, Washington, USA, and research fellow and adjunct professor at the University of Toronto, Canada. Recently retired from the International Monetary Fund, he has published widely in international finance. Catherine Pattillo is a senior economist in the IMF's African Department and a specialist on low-income economies, particularly those in Africa. She has collaborated with Paul Masson on several papers regarding monetary unions in Africa.

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