Washington Consensus Reforms and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons From the Past Four Decades

35 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2021

See all articles by Belinda Archibong

Belinda Archibong

Columbia University - Barnard College

Brahima Coulibaly

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Brookings Institution

Date Written: December 3, 2020

Abstract

Over three decades after market-oriented structural reforms, termed "Washington consensus" policies, were first implemented, we revisit the evidence on policy adoption and the effects of these policies on socio-economic performance in sub-Saharan African countries. We focus on three key ubiquitous reform policies around privatization, fiscal discipline, and trade openness and document significant improvements in economic performance for reformers over the past two decades. Following initial declines in per capita economic growth over the 1980s and 1990s, reform adopters experienced notable increases in per capita real GDP growth in the post 2000 period. We complement aggregate analysis with four country case studies that highlight important lessons for effective reform. Notably, the ability to implement pro-poor policies alongside market oriented reforms played a central role in successful policy performance.

Keywords: Washington Consensus, Structural Adjustment Programs, Policy Reform, Africa

JEL Classification: O10, O43, N37

Suggested Citation

Archibong, Belinda and Coulibaly, Brahima and Okonjo-Iweala, Ngozi, Washington Consensus Reforms and Economic Performance in Sub-Saharan Africa: Lessons From the Past Four Decades (December 3, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3780433 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3780433

Belinda Archibong (Contact Author)

Columbia University - Barnard College ( email )

3009 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Brahima Coulibaly

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

The Brookings Institution ( email )

1775 Massachusetts Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States

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