The Article IV Consultation with the Kingdom of Swaziland discusses efforts to broaden the tax base and improve tax administration, in particular through the introduction of a value-added tax and the establishment of a Revenue Authority. The depreciation of the nominal exchange rate along with the South African rand, to which it is pegged, impacted positively on the export sector. Prompt and automatic pass-through of international price increases would also help depoliticize price adjustments.
St. Lucia’s 2008 Article IV Consultation underlies that progress has been made in reducing fiscal imbalances, yet public debt and debt servicing payments continue to rise. Tourism accounts for more than three-fourths of exports, and the import content of both consumption and foreign direct investment is high. Although the share of value added from the traditionally dominant agriculture sector has declined sharply in recent decades, crop exports support the incomes of much of the country’s large rural population.
The challenge of achieving broad-based growth in Lesotho is discussed. Economic growth is inconsistent. Lesotho is highly dependent on trade with South Africa. The sources of growth in Lesotho using a social accounting matrix model and a growth-accounting framework are outlined. The main constraints to growth and private investment and current policy initiative to promote broad-based growth and private investment are analyzed. The various methods employed suggest that there is neither external stability nor significant evidence of exchange rate misalignment.
This 2006 Article IV Consultation highlights that Swaziland’s economic performance has remained weak with growth averaging only 2 percent since 2000, owing to a substantial real appreciation of the lilangeni during 2002–04, erosion of trade preferences, recurrent drought, and stagnant investment. Over that same period, rising government expenditures, especially on the wage bill, undermined fiscal sustainability and reduced foreign reserves to critically low levels. Poverty has escalated in the face of high and rising unemployment, food shortages, and the world’s highest HIV/AIDS infection rate.
South Africa showed strong macroeconomic performance owing to its sound policies, which aimed at raising economic growth and reducing poverty, within a stable macroeconomic, social, and political environment. Executive Directors commended the strong economic performance, sustainable fiscal policies, and sound debt management that helped to reduce public debt. They appreciated the authorities' efforts on addressing major economic and social challenges while preserving macroeconomic stability. They agreed that the flexible exchange-rate system and sound financial system has helped the country to sustain economic growth.
Economic growth in Swaziland has weakened over the past decade. This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that real GDP growth decelerated to 2.1 percent in 2004 and an estimated 1.8 percent in 2005. A prolonged drought affected agricultural output, particularly maize, the main staple crop, and cotton. The authorities completed a “Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan” in October 2004. The document spells out policies with the overall objective of halving the 1995 poverty rate by 2015. However, little progress has been made toward this and other Millennium Development Goals.
This Selected Issues paper on the Kingdom of Lesotho reviews the broad objectives and key institutional features of the Common Monetary Area (CMA) relating to currency arrangements. The CMA Agreement provides for the three small member countries to have access to South African capital and money markets, but only through prescribed investments or approved securities that can be held by financial institutions in South Africa. Lesotho’s exchange rate arrangement under the CMA shares certain characteristics of a currency board.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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