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Effects of financial liberalization on financial market development and economic performance of the SSA region : an empirical assessment
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by Abdullahi AhmedAbdullahi Ahmed
This study investigates the role of financial liberalization in promoting financial deepening and economic growth in Sub-Saharan African countries (SSA). We apply the more efficient system GMM estimator in dynamic panel data that combines first difference and original level specification to deal with the problems of weak instruments. Our dataset covers 21 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa over the period of 1981–2009. Additionally, the paper sought to examine both the direct and indirect impacts of financial liberalization policies on economic growth and financial deepening using a much more comprehensive and recent financial liberalization dataset. The econometric results suggest that, on average, financial liberalization is negatively associated with income growth in SSA region. Our findings provide support for the skeptical empirical view of financial liberalization in emerging markets, which show that liberalization, by itself, might be associated with lower economic growth through leading to destabilization, stimulating domestic capital flight and increasing the risk of financial fragility. However, the research finds that financial liberalization does indeed impact positively on financial deepening and resource mobilization in SSA region, after controlling for key macroeconomic factors such as institutional quality, fiscal imbalances and inflation. In fact the study reports a stronger reforms effect for countries that have stronger legal institutions, protection of property rights and higher human capital. Policy-wise, the study finds that institutional and human capital factors are important in explaining growth and financial development; therefore, it is necessary for SSA governments to promote a stronger and more transparent institutional development as we move forward.