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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a severe human, economic, and social impact on Mauritania. The economy is estimated to have contracted by about 2 percent in 2020 and the crisis generated large financing needs. The authorities responded swiftly to mitigate the impact of the pandemic while international partners provided grants, loans, and debt service suspension. This, compounded by higher commodity exports (iron ore and gold) and some delays in emergency spending, resulted in unexpected fiscal surpluses and an accumulation of international reserves, which may now be used to support the recovery in 2021–22. The outlook remains highly uncertain and dependent on volatile commodity markets, with sizable downside risks in case new waves of the pandemic spill over into Mauritania.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impose severe social and economic hardships in Mauritania, with a sharp contraction of output expected in 2020. The authorities have responded swiftly to the shock with measures to contain the pandemic and alleviate its fallout. They are prioritizing health spending and targeted support to the most vulnerable households and sectors in the economy. Nevertheless, conditions have weakened since the emergency disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility in April 2020 (SDR 95.68 million, about US$130 million or 74.3 percent of quota) and wider external and fiscal financing gaps are projected.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper focuses on the Islamic Republic of Mauritania’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility. The economic and social impact of the pandemic is rapidly unfolding, with a contraction of output expected in 2020. The authorities have responded swiftly with measures to contain the pandemic and alleviate its fallout. Going forward, prioritizing health spending and targeted support to the most vulnerable households and sectors in the economy remains critical. The authorities are committed to full transparency and reporting of resources deployed for the emergency response, to audit crisis-mitigation spending once the crisis abates, and to publish the results. At the same time, they remain committed to the economic reform program supported by the ongoing ECF arrangement with the IMF. The program aims at using the fiscal space to increase priority spending on education, health and social protection and infrastructure, while mobilizing domestic revenues and maintaining prudent borrowing policies to preserve debt sustainability.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This paper discusses Islamic Republic of Mauritania’s Third Review of Arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility. The program aims at entrenching macroeconomic stability, supporting inclusive and job creating growth, and building international reserve buffers. The authorities plan to use the prospective fiscal space prudently for priority social spending—education, health, and social protection—and public infrastructure. The economic outlook has improved, buoyed by more favorable terms of trade and the upcoming development of a large offshore gas field. Growth is projected to accelerate to 6 3/4 percent this year, supported by a recovery in extractive sectors and continued broad-based non-extractive growth reflecting strong domestic demand and budding diversification. Downside risks related to global economic developments, commodity price volatility, and regional security concerns remain elevated. Considerable challenges remain to entrench macroeconomic stability, support inclusive growth, and build resilience to shocks. The prospective fiscal space should be used prudently for priority social policies and public infrastructure.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
Program implementation has been satisfactory. Macroeconomic stability has been maintained, external debt has been stabilized, and several reforms have been launched to modernize economic institutions and the policy framework. Growth is expected to accelerate this year to 3½ percent, supported by FDI and public investment. While the outlook is positive owing to sustained growth in non-extractive sectors, the international environment is less favorable than during the first review. Higher oil import prices and lower commodity export prices weigh on the external and fiscal positions; the economy remains dependent on commodity exports; and debt vulnerabilities and poverty remain high. Downside risks related to global economic developments and regional security are elevated. On the upside, development of the offshore gas field could generate large revenues from 2022 despite short-term costs.
Ms. Zsofia Arvai, Mr. Ananthakrishnan Prasad, and Mr. Kentaro Katayama
As undiversified commodity exporters, GCC economies are prone to pro-cyclical systemic risk in the financial system. During periods of high hydrocarbon prices, favorable economic prospects make the financial sector keen to lend, leading to higher domestic credit growth and easier access to external financing. Fiscal policy is a very important tool for macroeconomic management, but due to the significant time lags and expenditure rigidities, it has not been a flexible enough tool to prevent credit booms and the build-up of systemic risk in the GCC. This, together with limited monetary policy independence because of the pegged exchange rate, means that macro-prudential policy has a particularly important role in limiting systemic risk in the financial system. This importance is reinforced by the underdeveloped financial markets in the region that provide limited risk management tools and shortcomings in crisis resolution frameworks. This paper will discuss the importance of macro-prudential policy in the GCC countries, look at the experience with macro-prudential policies in the boom/bust cycle in the second half of the 2000s, and use the broad frameworks being developed in the Fund and elsewhere to discuss ways existing frameworks and policy toolkits in the region can be strengthened given the characteristics of the GCC economies.
Risto Herrala and Rima Turk-Ariss
We investigate the complex interactions between credit constraints, political instability, and capital accumulation using a novel approach based on Kiyotaki and Moore’s (1997) theoretical framework. Drawing on a unique firm-level data set from Middle-East and North Africa (MENA), empirical findings point to a large and significant effect of credit conditions on capital accumulation and suggest that continued political unrest worsens credit constraints. The results support the view that financial development measured by a relaxing of financial constraints is key to macroeconomic development.
International Monetary Fund
The already sluggish global recovery has suffered new setbacks and uncertainty weighs heavily on prospects. The euro area crisis intensified in the first half of 2012 and growth has slowed across the globe, reflecting financial market tensions, extensive fiscal tightening in many countries, and high uncertainty about medium-term prospects. Activity is forecast to remain tepid and bumpy, with a further escalation of the euro-area crisis or a failure to avoid the “fiscal cliff” in the United States entailing significant downside risk.
Mr. Oral Williams and Mr. Kamiar Mohaddes
This paper uses a pairwise approach to investigate the main factors that have been driving inflation differentials in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region for the past two decades. The results suggest that inflation differentials in the GCC are largely influenced by the oil cycle, mainly through the credit and fiscal channels. This implies that closer coordination of fiscal policies will be key for facilitating the closer integration of the GCC economies and ahead of the move to a monetary union. The results also indicate that after controlling for cyclical factors, convergence increased even during the recent oil boom.