The potential of domestic savings in the Global South

Think WIDER Webinar Series - New perspectives on domestic revenue mobilization

Our Think WIDER Webinar Series - New perspectives on domestic revenue mobilization continues on 7 February 2023 with a presentation and a panel discussion on domestic savings in the Global South.

Register here for the webinar

About the session

Domestic financing plays a crucial role in the revenue collection efforts of developing countries. Countries with high domestic savings rates tend to experience higher economic growth rates than others. The greater the domestic savings, the greater is the much-needed flexibility to implement homegrown policies to confront growth and development challenges. Furthermore, a high savings rate reduces vulnerability to sudden shifts in international capital flows.

Until now, there has been limited research taking place on this important topic, in spite of the increasing availability of good quality data. This one-hour session will share the key results of UNU-WIDER’s project The domestic savings shortfall in developing countries – what can be done about it? and answers the following questions:

  • What are the key drivers of national savings rates?
  • Could alternative approaches, for instance sovereign wealth funds or financial technology, provide new solutions to increase domestic savings? What are the risks?
  • What are the behavioral determinants affecting people’s savings in low-income countries?
  • What is the role of macroeconomic policy in increasing domestic savings?

The event is chaired by UNU-WIDER Director Kunal Sen, and the introduction to the topic is given by Dr Rose Ngugi, the Executive Director of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA). Discussants and panelists include Njuguna Ndung’u (Cabinet Secretary of The National Treasury and Economic Planning, Kenya), Tobias Rasmussen (International Monetary Fund Resident Representative, Kenya) and Amir Lebdioui (Development Economist, SOAS University of London).

About the speakers

Rose Ngugi is the Executive Director of the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA). She is involved in providing technical guidance and capacity building on policy and strategy formulation to the Government of Kenya and other stakeholders, with the overall aim of contributing to the achievement of national development goals. Prior to joining KIPPRA she was a Senior Advisor in the Office of Executive Director, Africa Group 1 of the International Monetary Fund. Dr. Ngugi has been a member of Central Bank of Kenya, Monetary Policy Committee and has vast teaching experience in the University of Nairobi, School of Economics.

Rose Ngugi has published widely. Her research interests are in public policy, financial sector, investments, reforms and institutional issues. She holds a PhD from Business School Birmingham University, UK specializing in Financial Markets, and a Masters and Bachelors degree in Economics from the University of Nairobi, Kenya.

Kunal Sen has over three decades of experience in academic and applied development economics research. He is the author of eight books and the editor of five volumes on the economics and political economy of development. In 2019 he was appointed Director of UNU-WIDER, and he is a professor of development economics at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester.

Professor Sen is a leading international expert on the political economy of growth and development. He has performed extensive research on international finance, the political economy determinants of inclusive growth, the dynamics of poverty, social exclusion, female labour force participation, and the informal sector in developing economies. His research has focused on India, East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Njuguna S. Ndung’u is the Cabinet Secretary of The National Treasury and Economic Planning of Kenya. Prior to this position he was the Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium based in Kenya. He has also held the position of Kenya’s Central Bank Governor, from 2007 until March 2015. He holds a PhD in economics from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in economics from the University of Nairobi.

Prior to his appointment as Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, Njuguna Ndung’u held positions at the University of Nairobi where he taught advanced economic theory and econometrics, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Kenya Institute of Public Policy Research and Analysis (KIPPRA). Professor Ndung’u has extensive policy, research, and teaching expertise in macroeconomics, microeconomics, econometrics, and poverty reduction.

Tobias Rasmussen has been with the IMF since 2001, working on a wide range of countries. Prior to his current assignment as IMF Resident Representative to Kenya, he was Mission Chief for Guinea Bissau, and had before that worked on Ghana and Zambia. He has also worked on countries in the IMF’s Asian, Middle-Eastern, Western Hemisphere, and European Departments.

Tobias Rasmussen holds a PhD in Economics from Aarhus University in Denmark and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University, and he has been a visiting fellow at Harvard University. His research has focused on natural resource management and economic growth.

Amir Lebdioui is a Development Economist and Lecturer in the Political Economy of Development at SOAS, University of London. Previously, Amir was the Canning House Research Fellow based at the LSE.

His research expertise lies in the economic development and diversification of resource-dependent nations, low carbon innovation and industrialisation in the context of climate change. Dr. Lebdioui also regularly advises governments, international institutions and think tanks on industrial policy and sustainable economic strategies more broadly. Amir Lebdioui holds a PhD in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge.