This paper discusses Seychelles’ Fourth Review Under the Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) and Request for Modification of Targets. Economic developments since the completion of the 2019 Article IV consultation and the third review under the PCI in June 2019 have been broadly in line with expectations. The program is largely on track. The 2020 budget recently submitted to the National Assembly is in line with the program and the major infrastructure and climate change related projects would be implemented within the fiscal parameters under the PCI. All quantitative targets for end-June 2019, the program’s fourth review test date, were met except for the primary fiscal surplus target, which was missed by a very small margin due to a delay in receipts from 2016 to 2017 sales of a telecom company. The economic outlook continues to be favorable. Downside risks to the outlook largely stem from possible external shocks, including weakness in the key tourism markets and global banks’ withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships.
This Selected Issues paper focuses on the prospects of growth in São Tomé and Príncipe (STP). This case study seeks explanations for STP’s relative under-performance and draws lessons for the future. It compares past economic developments in the islands and recommends policies that could most effectively foster future growth in STP. Country-specific characteristics as well as weak institutions contributed to STP’s relative underperformance since independence. Initial conditions, particularly regarding human capital and natural resources, contributed to STP’s relative underperformance, especially in the first decade after independence. Experience in the four island-states suggests that fiscal discipline, revenue mobilization, and a more active private sector, particularly in the tourism sector, may be key to tap STP’s growth potential. Fiscal discipline is needed to contain the fiscal deficit and bring the debt to a sustainable level. Continuing to strengthen public financial management, including implementing multiannual fiscal framework as recommended by the IMF technical assistance, would help.
This paper discusses Seychelles’ Fourth and Fifth Reviews under the Extended Arrangement and Request for Modification and Waiver of Applicability of Performance Criteria. All performance criteria as of December 31, 2015, and June 30, 2016, were met, and the macroeconomic program remains broadly on track for the second half of the year. The structural agenda is proceeding, albeit with some technical delays. The IMF staff welcomes the authorities’ commitment to the goal of a steady reduction in public debt over the medium term reflected in the draft 2017 budget.
Ms. Anastasia Guscina, Mr. Guilherme Pedras, and Gabriel Presciuttini
International bond issuance by debut issuers has risen in recent years. The uptick was a result of both demand and supply factors. The search for yield and demand for portfolio diversification have resulted in demand-driven easy financing conditions. At the same time, rising financing needs for many debut issuers, coupled with reduced access to concessional financing, relatively undeveloped domestic markets, and a favorable interest rate environment have made international bonds an attractive financing alternative for many countries. As bonds issued in the international markets are typically denominated in hard currencies, have large volumes and a bullet structure, exposure to exchange rate and refinancing risk has increased. Therefore, risk-mitigating policy actions are needed to prepare for redemption, support debt sustainability, and secure adequate debt management capacity.
This paper discusses Seychelles’ Request for an Arrangement Under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF). In the five years following the 2008 balance of payments and debt crisis, the authorities have successfully enacted a comprehensive program of reforms. Despite the success of the program, important risks and challenges remain. To face these challenges, the authorities have requested a successor EFF arrangement with the IMF. This program will help support their macroeconomic policies and protect reserve coverage over the extended period, while they carry out wide-ranging structural reforms necessary to support improvement in macroeconomic conditions, lock-in stabilization, and reduce the country’s vulnerabilities.
The paper estimates the impact of macroeconomic supply- and demand-side determinants of tourism, one of the largest components of services exports globally, and the backbone of many smaller economies. It applies the gravity model to a large dataset comprising the full universe of bilateral tourism flows spanning over a decade. The results show that the gravity model explains tourism flows better than goods trade for equivalent specifications. The elasticity of tourism with respect to GDP of the origin (importing) country is lower than for goods trade. Tourism flows respond strongly to changes in the destination country’s real exchange rate, along both extensive (tourist arrivals) and intensive (duration of stay) margins. OECD countries generally exhibit higher elasticties with respect to economic variables (GDPs of the two economies, real exchange rate, bilateral trade) due to the larger share of business travel. Tourism to small islands is less sensitive to changes in the country’s real exchange rate, but more susceptible to the introduction/removal of direct flights.
On December 19, 2013, the Executive Board of the IMF completed the eighth and final review under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Seychelles. The completion of the review enables a disbursement of SDR 3.3 million, which will bring total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 26.4 million. Strong policies have fostered economic growth, brightening Seychelles’ near-term outlook. With the completion of this review, the EFF arrangement comes to an end. The program’s key objective of placing the economy firmly on the path to external and fiscal sustainability has been achieved, based on the successful implementation of the debt restructuring, robust fiscal consolidation, and the resumption of growth.
This staff report discusses Seychelles 2013 Article IV Consultation, Seventh Review Under the Extended Arrangement and Request for Modification of Performance Criterion. The repayment of domestic debt, a preference for foreign financing, and shallow domestic financial markets have resulted in significant structural rupee liquidity in the banking system. Tourism has been the main driver of growth, but there is a tension with the number of tourists the islands can absorb. Despite the challenging global environment, tourist arrivals have grown strongly, with diversification toward nontraditional markets more than offsetting stalling European arrivals. The Seychellois rupee is broadly in line with medium-term fundamentals, and tourism remains competitive among peers.