III Main Regional Policy Issues
  • 1 0000000404811396https://isni.org/isni/0000000404811396International Monetary Fund

Abstract

The BCEAO conducts monetary policy in the WAEMU at the regional level. Its basic near-term objectives are (1) to maintain the fixed exchange rate relationship between the CFA franc and the French franc—which means that the trend rate of inflation in the area is fundamentally determined by French inflation (Box 2); and (2) to achieve a target level of foreign assets for the BCEAO. The fixed exchange rate system implies that the independence of regional monetary policy is constrained: money growth within the region is endogenously determined, and an appropriate differential must be maintained between market interest rates in the WAEMU and in France (Figure 3). Moreover, there is no scope for national monetary policies in the member countries of the WAEMU. For this reason, IMF-supported programs in these countries currently do not include targets for either base money or the central banksď net domestic assets because these variables cannot be meaningfully defined at the national level. Even if they could be defined, they would be beyond the control of the national authorities. Of course, fiscal policy—including public debt management—remains within the purview of individual countries in the WAEMU, and IMF-supported programs typically include targets for the fiscal deficit, external borrowing by the government, and net domestic bank credit to the government. Cumulative borrowing by national governments from the BCEAO is itself constrained to no more than 20 percent of their fiscal revenue in the previous year.