With one of the world’s lowest levels of human development, Niger has enormous needs but only limited own resources to meet them. Insecurity in the Sahel, climate change, and low prices for its uranium exports are further challenges. Niger’s economy performed reasonably well before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. GDP growth exceeded 6 percent and large foreign projects were attracted, notably a pipeline for the export of crude oil. A new government will take office in April 2021.
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 discusses Niger’s Fifth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria. Niger faces daunting development challenges, aggravated by terrorist incursions, climate change, and low uranium export prices. Presidential elections are due in late 2020. Reforms are advancing and economic activity is reasonably strong. Program implementation has been broadly satisfactory. All quantitative targets for end-June 2019 were met. However, a subsequent weakening of revenues, partly due to Nigeria’s closure of its borders to trade, as well as topped-up budget support, required mitigating policy measures and the adjustment of end-December 2019 targets. Structural reforms are advancing with delays. Niger can strengthen prospects for a successful transition by securing favorable contractual arrangements with foreign investors; establishing a framework for administering oil resources in line with good practices, notably channeling all revenues directly through the Treasury; and increasing spending on physical and human capital, while being mindful of the inherent volatility in natural resource revenues.
This paper discusses Benin’s Fifth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement, Request for Extension, and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria. Program implementation continues to be very satisfactory. The macroeconomic and structural policies outlined by the authorities are adequate to pursue the program’s objectives, and risks to program implementation are deemed manageable. Benin’s economic performance remains strong despite a less supportive external environment and the border closure with Nigeria. The significant increase in the share of external debt in total debt in the past two years warrants caution. The recent debt reprofiling operation and the Eurobond issuance have contributed to lowering borrowing costs, diversifying the financing structure, and extending debt maturity. However, these operations can also generate new vulnerabilities that will need to be mitigated through an enhanced debt management strategy and continued capacity improvements at the debt management office.