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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Guinea-Bissau is a fragile state with considerable needs to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and address developmental challenges. After an estimated 1.4 percent of GDP contraction in 2020, a modest recovery of about 3.3 percent is projected for 2021 on the back of higher cashew exports, the gradual lifting of COVID containment measures and a more stable political situation. The outlook is subject to considerable uncertainty. An RCF disbursement of SDR 14.2 million (50 percent of quota) was approved in January to provide urgent financing (35 percent of the external gap in 2021) to support critical spending in health and catalyze additional donor resources. The RCF followed two years of protracted political turmoil and delays in reforms, now undertaken by the new government. Public debt was assessed as sustainable in a forward-looking sense based on the authorities’ commitment to sound policies supported by strong donor engagement and a Fund program. Debt service relief under the CCRT has provided some fiscal space and the country’s participation in the DSSI should also help mobilize additional resources. After the 2021 budget approval within the statutory deadlines, significant and sustained reform efforts are required to meet the WAEMU 3 percent of GDP overall balance criteria by 2025 and bring public debt-to-GDP ratio within 70 percent by end-2026.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Near-term macroeconomic prospects continue to improve in the context of higher oil prices and a gradual global recovery from the pandemic shock, but the medium-term outlook remains challenging and highly uncertain. Oil production remains muted, debt and inflation remain elevated, and non-oil activity is expected to recover only gradually. However, continued strong fiscal performance (aided by higher oil revenues), exchange rate stabilization, and a return to positive non-oil growth would contribute to a reduction in the debt-to-GDP ratio this year, easing debt vulnerabilities.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic is taking a heavy toll on São Tomé and Príncipe. Tourist arrivals came to an abrupt halt in mid-March, externally financed projects are being delayed, and international supply-chains are disrupted. The challenging circumstances are further affected by the fragility of the economy and a weak health care system.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
São Tomé and Príncipe has maintained macroeconomic stability, despite many challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated long-standing socio-economic vulnerabilities, which were further compounded by persistent energy shortages and damages from the floods in end-2021. Growth declined in 2021 with power outages, while a targeted expansion of the cash transfer and food support programs provided needed relief to the most vulnerable. Strong grant financing remains critical for mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Vaccinations are proceeding, although the new COVID-19 variants pose risks for protracting the impact of the pandemic and require renewed actions to mitigate those risks. Parliamentary elections are expected in October 2022.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
While improving, the economic outlook remains highly challenging, given the slow and uncertain recovery from the COVID-related shocks. Heavily dependent on oil, the Angolan economy has suffered from weakness in that sector, with falling production (related to the pandemic) and only a partial rebound in international prices recently. These shocks have led to a fifth straight year of recession and hardship. The public debt-to-GDP ratio has risen to very elevated levels, driven by recent real exchange rate depreciation. Nevertheless, strong fiscal performance and active debt management are setting the stage for a gradual economic recovery and reduction in debt vulnerabilities.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
After two years of protracted political turmoil and delays in reforms, the authorities put in place in 2021 an ambitious fiscal consolidation program to ensure debt sustainability while creating fiscal space to address vast developmental needs. In late July, Fund Management approved a 9-month Staff Monitored Program (SMP) to support the government’s reform program aimed at stabilizing the economy, strengthening governance, and building a soundtrack-record of policy implementation towards an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The first review was concluded satisfactorily in October. A Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) disbursement of SDR 14.2 million (50 percent of quota) was approved in January to provide urgent financing to support critical spending in health and catalyze additional donor resources. The RCF disbursement, the SDR 27.2 million allocation (96 percent of quota) and reforms underpinned by the SMP are contributing to address fragility including the adverse impact of the pandemic, improve government spending transparency and mitigate debt vulnerabilities, and create conditions that would help restore donor confidence and catalyze much-needed concessional financing.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Cabo Verde’s economy is facing significant economic challenges associated with the lingering effects of the pandemic, as well as rising food and fuel prices triggered by the war in Ukraine. Climate change is also creating new difficulties after a fourth consecutive drought year. The economy rebounded strongly in 2021 following the COVID-19 induced recession in 2020, due in part to the authorities’ effective policy response, including one of the most successful vaccination programs in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the spillover effects of the Ukraine war are likely to weaken the economic recovery, worsen the fiscal and external positions, lead to higher inflation, and result in a substantial decline in international reserves. As a result, strong policy measures are needed to shore up international reserves, preserve debt sustainability, increase resilience to shocks, including climate change adaptation and mitigation, and make growth more inclusive.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Sub-Saharan Africa is struggling to navigate an unprecedented health and economic crisis—one that, in just a few months, has jeopardized decades of hard-won development gains and upended the lives and livelihoods of millions.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.

Ruchir Agarwal and Ms. Gita Gopinath
Urgent steps are needed to arrest the rising human toll and economic strain from the COVID-19 pandemic that are exacerbating already-diverging recoveries. Pandemic policy is also economic policy as there is no durable end to the economic crisis without an end to the health crisis. Building on existing initiatives, this paper proposes pragmatic actions at the national and multilateral level to expeditiously defeat the pandemic. The proposal targets: (1) vaccinating at least 40 percent of the population in all countries by the end of 2021 and at least 60 percent by the first half of 2022, (2) tracking and insuring against downside risks, and (3) ensuring widespread testing and tracing, maintaining adequate stocks of therapeutics, and enforcing public health measures in places where vaccine coverage is low. The benefits of such measures at about $9 trillion far outweigh the costs which are estimated to be around $50 billion—of which $35 billion should be paid by grants from donors and the residual by national governments potentially with the support of concessional financing from bilateral and multilateral agencies. The grant funding gap identified by the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator amounts to about $22 billion, which the G20 recognizes as important to address. This leaves an estimated $13 billion in additional grant contributions needed to finance our proposal. Importantly, the strategy requires global cooperation to secure upfront financing, upfront vaccine donations, and at-risk investment to insure against downside risks for the world.