The macroeconomic outlook has worsened amid a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, higher commodity prices and social unrest, rooted in widening inequality and a lack of opportunities for the youth. The COVID-19 vaccination campaign was launched in February but has so far covered less than 5 percent of Senegal’s population. The President announced in early April an emergency program for youth employment and economic insertion amounting to 3 percent of GDP, spread evenly over 2021–23.
The Covid-19 pandemic has ended a period of buoyant growth averaging about 6 ½ percent over the last 6 years. Containment measures, lower external demand, reduced remittances, and the sudden stop of travel and tourism are taking a significant toll on the economy. Without forceful policy measures, the current crisis could unravel development gains over the last decade. The authorities have taken strong actions to contain the pandemic and mitigate its economic fallout, supported by significant additional external financing from Senegal’s development partners. The IMF disbursed US$442 million (100 percent of quota) under the RFI/RCF in April.
This paper presents Senegal’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Purchase Under the Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI). The sharp global economic downturn and domestic containment measures have led to a substantial reduction in economic activity, with sectors such as tourism, transport, construction, and retail particularly hard-hit, and the pandemic in Europe is also translating into lower remittances. As a result, the short-term economic outlook has deteriorated significantly, with large uncertainties surrounding the duration and spread of the pandemic. The IMF’s emergency financing under the RCF and the RFI is expected to provide much-needed liquidity to support the authorities’ response to the crisis and could catalyze further assistance from the international community, preferably in the form of grants. Additional concessional donor support will be critical to close the remaining financing gap, ease the adjustment burden, and preserve Senegal’s impressive economic achievements. Ensuring that disbursed funds are used in a well-targeted, cost-effective and transparent manner remains imperative.
This paper concludes that the existing framework remains broadly appropriate, but proposes methodological refinements to improve the assessment of market access, clarifies how serious short-term vulnerabilities are assessed, and proposes a modest extension of the transition period before graduation decisions become effective.
Economic growth averaged 6.5 percent over the past five years, boosted by public investment under phase I of Senegal’s development strategy, the “Plan Sénégal Émergent” (PSE), and buoyant private consumption. High public financing needs led to a rapid increase in public debt and a widening of the current account deficit. The outlook remains favorable provided Senegal strictly adheres to the WAEMU fiscal deficit target of 3 percent of GDP and creates fiscal space for investment through enhanced revenue mobilization and spending efficiency to stabilize public debt. Hydrocarbon production is projected to start in 2022. The authorities requested the cancellation of the 2015-19 Policy Support Instrument (PSI) in early 2019 (with only one review left), and are now requesting approval of a three-year program supported by the Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI) to underpin implementation of the second phase of the PSE.
This paper discusses Senegal’s Request for a Three-Year Policy Coordination Instrument (PCI). The PCI for Senegal is expected to build on the lessons from the previous programs supported by the IMF. It aims to support the authorities’ efforts to consolidate macroeconomic stability and foster sustained and inclusive growth. Program reviews take place on a semi-annual fixed schedule. While the PCI involves no use of IMF resources, successful completion of program reviews would help signal Senegal’s commitment to continued strong economic policies and structural reforms. Although public debt has increased and the current account deficit has widened, the outlook remains favorable, provided the authorities follow through with their comprehensive reform strategy and measures to consolidate macroeconomic stability. The authorities’ economic program supported by the PCI focuses on achieving high, sustainable, and inclusive growth, consolidating macroeconomic stability through prudent fiscal policy and sound debt management, and managing the oil and gas sector in a transparent manner.
Senegal’s main challenge is sustaining high GDP growth rates while maintaining fiscal sustainability and improving the business environment to create jobs for the fast-growing population. The second phase of the Plan Sénégal Emergent (PSE) covering 2019-23 sets out a comprehensive reform agenda to achieve these objectives. Fiscal reforms should aim to increase revenues, strengthen public financial management (PFM), and improve the composition and quality of spending. Structural reforms to facilitate private investment and competitiveness would provide durable sources of growth, while development of a fiscal framework for oil and gas aligned with international best practice would ensure that these natural resources provide high economic and social returns. Further progress on improving the business environment will require simplifying tax administration and reforms to facilitate SME access to finance, and further develop the Special Economic Zones (SEZs). Policies to address gender and inequality issues would contribute to poverty reduction and well-distributed growth.
The ruling party won about half of the seats in the October 2018 municipal elections, but the political landscape is becoming more complex and uncertain, with the competition among the three traditional parties intensifying ahead of the 2020 presidential elections. The economic outlook remains strong, underpinned by robust consumption and investment, but risks are tilted downside. Growth is projected to stay around 7½ percent in 2018–19. Inflation is expected to remain subdued.
This paper discusses Senegal’s Fifth Review Under the Policy Support Instrument and Request for Modification of Assessment Criterion. Senegal’s macroeconomic situation is stable. Growth is expected to exceed 6 percent in 2017 for the third year in a row, while inflation remains low. The fiscal deficit has been declining progressively in recent years and is projected to reach 3.7 percent of GDP in 2017. The current account deficit is projected to increase to 7.8 percent of GDP in 2017 owing to higher oil prices and slightly slower export growth. The outlook for the Senegalese economy remains on the whole positive. Senegal needs to continue implementing its structural reform program to maintain high growth rates of recent years.