The Gambia is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19 cases. The vaccination campaign started in early March 2021, but the pace is slow, due to vaccine availability and hesitancy. Presidential and parliamentary elections are planned for December 2021 and April 2022, respectively.
International Monetary Fund. Finance Dept., International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, &, Review Department, and International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept.
This paper proposes that the Executive Board approve the disbursement of a third tranche of CCRT debt service relief to 28 of the 29 CCRT-eligible members, covering the period April 14, 2021 through October 15, 2021, given staff’s assessment that sufficient financial resources are available.
The IMF Executive Board approved, on March 23, 2020, a 39-month Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement in the amount of SDR 35 million (56.3 percent of quota) for The Gambia. The Gambia benefited from a Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) disbursement of SDR 15.55 million (25 percent of quota) approved on April 15, 2020 and is receiving debt service relief under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) expected to total SDR 7.9 million (SDR 4.2 million of which has already been approved), to help meet heightened balance-of-payments and fiscal financing needs due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. While indicators point to a domestic weakening of the pandemic, the authorities are seeking an ECF augmentation of SDR 20 million (32.15 percent of quota) to meet balance-of-payments needs arising from fiscal measures to stimulate the economic recovery in 2021, strengthen public health preparedness, increase social spending to mitigate the effects of the pandemic. They are also requesting a waiver of nonobservance of a continuous performance criterion (a zero ceiling) on new external payment arrears of the central government.
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.
This paper highlights The Gambia’s Requests for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility and Modification of Performance Criteria Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement. The Gambia has also benefited from the IMF Executive Board decision of April 13, 2020 to provide debt service relief to all countries eligible for support from the International Development Association in the form of grant assistance under the Catastrophe Containment window of the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust. The authorities’ support for social programs is being severely tested. In this context, a better targeting and timely delivery of social assistance to the most affected households and sectors is needed during the pandemic. The Central Bank of The Gambia should continue to monitor developments in the financial sector, to ensure adequate liquidity and oversight, while avoiding a blanket weakening of supervisory standards. A strengthening of market surveillance under the existing regulations will help detect and address appropriately any weakening of banks’ foreign exchange positions. Maintaining a flexible exchange rate will help absorb balance-of-payments shocks.
This paper presents The Gambia’s Requests for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility and Modification of Performance Criteria Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement. The immediate challenge is to contain the spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), strengthen medical care, implement the social distancing and other containment measures, and mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic, especially on the most vulnerable. It is important to establish appropriate criteria and reporting requirements for the use of emergency spending and ensure that COVID-related operations and outlays undergo a full independent audit to enhance transparency. In order to safeguard debt sustainability, the authorities are encouraged to seek additional grant financing for emergency spending. The Central Bank of The Gambia should continue to monitor developments in the financial sector, to ensure adequate liquidity and oversight, while avoiding a blanket weakening of supervisory standards. A strengthening of market surveillance under the existing regulations will help detect and address appropriately any weakening of banks’ foreign exchange positions. Maintaining a flexible exchange rate will help absorb balance-of-payments shocks.
This paper discusses The Gambia’s request for a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). The Gambia is enjoying a strong economic recovery, with good prospects of sustained growth over the medium term. In order to consolidate gains and establish a track record for a possible arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility, the authorities are requesting a new SMP covering 2019. The SMP will help build an adequate track record of performance for a potential Fund-supported program. Enhanced domestic revenue mobilization and expenditure control will help create room for much needed public investment and poverty-reducing social spending. The program’s strategy includes fiscal policy to focus on domestic revenue mobilization, improved treasury management and spending prioritization. A prudent borrowing strategy and strengthened oversight of state-owned enterprises, with the focus on containing contingent liabilities, is expected to contribute to anchoring debt sustainability. Monetary policy will remain active to curb inflation pressures and banking supervision vigilant to foster financial stability.