March 11, 2018

Finance and Firm Productivity in Africa: Background Study from World Bank Enterprise Survey Data

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March 13, 2018 - 4:00 am
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Access to finance has been considered to be one of the important factors in influencing firms’ real activities and in promoting aggregates. However, literature on the relationship between finance and firm-level productivity is almost non-existent for African countries. This paper fills this gap by using cross-sectional firm-level data to estimate the effect of access to finance on labour productivity, total factor productivity (TFP), and the stochastic frontier trans-log model. This study also estimates an instrumental variable model – two-stage least square estimator to address potential endogeneity bias between access to credit and firms’ productivity. The results obtained show that the lack of access to finance, especially overdraft facilities negatively affects the productivity of firms in Africa. Also, smaller firms and sole-proprietorships are mostly affected because they have less access to finance. This study suggests that the development of a balanced financial system should be of topmost priority to policy makers. This ensures that more finance is channelled towards those firms whose productivity depends heavily on the availability of finance irrespective of their characteristics. This would result in firms increasing their investments in productivity-enhancing activities, which would benefit long-term economic growth.



Nigeria Economic Update (Issue 51)

According to figures released by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics, employment growth lagged during the recession period, and worsened unemployment/underemployment rates few quarters after. Specifically, unemployment rate rose to 18.8 percent in 2017Q31, up from 16.2 percent in previous quarter (the recession-exit quarter) and 13.9 percent in corresponding quarter. Disaggregated figures reveal that the number of unemployed and underemployed persons in the labour force increased by 17 percent and 2 percent respectively, to 15.9 million and 18.0 million in 2017Q3, majority of which are young persons within ages 15-34. 

Portfolio Diversification Between Developed And Less Developed Economies

This study examines the hedging effectiveness of portfolio investment diversification between developed and developing economies; with focus on the Nigerian stock asset vis--vis the stock assets of the United States (US) and United Kingdom (UK). Its main contribution is in the analysis of optimal portfolio diversification using optimal portfolio weight (OPW) and optimal hedging ratio (OHR). Empirical findings show that the OPW and OHR are low, which indicates impressive potential gains from combining Nigerian stock assets in an investment portfolio with US and UK stock assets. In addition, exchange rate volatility is found to pose stern limitation on the potential benefits of this portfolio diversification arrangement. It is therefore recommended that the monetary authority in Nigeria should pursue policies towards reducing exchange rate volatility to the barest minimum. This will possibly attract more investors from developed economies who might be willing to combine Nigerian stock in their investment portfolio to minimize portfolio risk.