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Saving in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author

Listed:
  • Ernest Aryeetey
  • Christopher Udry

Abstract

Gross domestic savings in Africa averaged only 8 percent of GDP in the 1980s, compared to 23 percent for Southeast Asia and 35 percent in the Newly Industrialized Economies. Aside from being generally low, saving rates in most of Africa have shown consistent decline over the last thirty years. These savings figures must be considered tentative, because they are derived as a residual in the national accounts from expenditure and production data that are themselves quite unreliable. Notwithstanding the problems of measurement, it is clear that savings are dominated by household savings. Survey evidence in turn shows that household savings are primarily in the form of non-financial assets. Financial savings are predominantly directed to informal markets and institutions. The paper documents these trends and provides a simple model of portfolio allocation to guide future research. It is suggested that an array of transaction costs associated with formal financial markets, coupled with the risk management strategies and production activities of households in Africa account for the patterns of saving and portfolio allocation observed in the data.

Suggested Citation

  • Ernest Aryeetey & Christopher Udry, 2000. "Saving in Sub-Saharan Africa," CID Working Papers 38A, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cid:wpfacu:38a
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Conning, Jonathan & Udry, Christopher, 2007. "Rural Financial Markets in Developing Countries," Handbook of Agricultural Economics, in: Robert Evenson & Prabhu Pingali (ed.), Handbook of Agricultural Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 56, pages 2857-2908, Elsevier.
    2. Mirko Bendig & Thankom Arun, 2011. "Microfinancial Services And Risk Management: Evidences From Sri Lanka," Journal of Economic Development, Chung-Ang Unviersity, Department of Economics, vol. 36(4), pages 97-126, December.
    3. Dupasquier, Chantal & Osakwe, Patrick N., 2006. "Foreign direct investment in Africa: Performance, challenges, and responsibilities," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 17(2), pages 241-260, April.
    4. P.V. Viswanath, 2021. "Connectivity and Savings Propensity among Odisha Tribals," Sustainability, MDPI, vol. 13(2), pages 1-15, January.
    5. Eric Asare & Eduardo Segarra & Nakakeeto Gertrude & Fafanyo Asiseh, 2018. "Explaining the Saving Behavior of Households¡¯ in Ethiopia, Africa," Applied Economics and Finance, Redfame publishing, vol. 5(2), pages 143-151, March.
    6. Nir Kshetri, 2011. "Institutional And Economic Foundations Of Entrepreneurship In Africa: An Overview," Journal of Developmental Entrepreneurship (JDE), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 16(01), pages 9-35.
    7. Arun, Thankom Gopinath & Bendig, Mirko, 2010. "Risk Management among the Poor: The Case of Microfinancial Services," IZA Discussion Papers 5174, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    8. Janvier D. Nkurunziza & Floribert Ngaruko, 2004. "Explaining Growth in Burundi: 1960-2000," Macroeconomics 0409012, University Library of Munich, Germany.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    saving; Africa; household savings; transaction costs; risk management;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis

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