The COVID-19 pandemic and the August 2020 coup d’état have disrupted more than half a decade of strong economic performance, during which growth averaged 5 percent.1 Growth is projected to decline from 5 percent to -2 percent in 2020 both on account of the pandemic (reflecting a slowdown in external demand, travel, and FDI, as well as the impact of uncertainty and reduced mobility on domestic demand) and of post-coup disruptions in trade, transport, economic and financial flows following the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Inflation accelerated slightly in recent months but is expected to remain below 2 percent, while the current account deficit is projected to narrow due to higher gold prices (main export) and lower oil prices (main import). Risks around the outlook are exceptionally high in light of the uncertainty surrounding the political transition, the impact of the sanctions on trade and overall activity, and continued deterioration in the security situation. Weak social safety nets amid high informality, food insecurity and a fragile healthcare system exacerbate challenges.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo is suffering directly from the COVID-19 pandemic with 215 confirmed cases and 20 deaths as of April 9. The economic impact, chiefly through lower commodity prices, was being felt even before the first confirmed case was reported on March 10. The authorities’ policy response to the pandemic has been firm, scaling up health care spending and putting in place measures to help contain and mitigate the spread of the disease. The pandemic is also dampening domestic revenue mobilization and putting significant pressures on foreign exchange reserves.
Comoros is a small, fragile island state (population: 850,000) with persistently low and shock-prone growth. The last Article IV Consultation (completed in early 2020) assessed Comoros’ fragility as arising from two vicious circles: economic fragility manifests in low fiscal revenue, insufficient government investment in human and physical capital, and pronounced vulnerability to shocks; while institutional fragility manifests in governance challenges, low government implementation capacity, and a weak judicial system. The circles feed into each other, undermining economic performance and stability. Overcoming fragility requires breaking both circles.
After almost a decade of strong growth, the WAEMU region is facing severe challenges from a triple crisis impacting the health, economic and security situations. Both fiscal and monetary policies were relaxed significantly in 2020 to contain the pandemic and support the economy. A gradual fiscal consolidation is expected to start in 2021 and bring back the aggregate fiscal deficit towards the 3 percent of GDP regional ceiling within three years. Growth is expected to recover swiftly in 2021–22 to pre-crisis levels, but the economic outlook is still uncertain.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Madagascar hard, reversing recent progress in per capita income and poverty reduction. GDP is estimated to have contracted by 4.2 percent in 2020. Two RCF disbursements approved on April 3 and July 30 (totaling 2.4 percent of GDP) helped close short-term financing gaps, supported mitigation measures, and contributed to catalyzing donor budget support. The authorities are seeking renewed Fund assistance to help the country face protracted balance of payment needs aggravated by the impact of the pandemic and support the authorities’ reform agenda summarized in the Plan Emergence Madagascar (PEM).
Côte d’Ivoire will be significantly impacted by COVID-19 pandemic: the number
of cases in the country has increased rapidly since the first confirmed case was reported on
March 11 and the global crisis is expected to severely affect supply chains and external
demand. The authorities’ policy response to the pandemic has been swift, putting in place
measures to help contain and mitigate the spread of the disease and designing a health
response plan. They have complemented these steps with an economic package to provide
targeted support to vulnerable populations and firms affected by the pandemic. The
pandemic will also temporarily dampen domestic revenue mobilization and complicate
access to international market financing.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the volatility in oil prices, heightened insecurity, and a looming food crisis due to climate change have severely stressed an already vulnerable Chadian economy. The two Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) disbursements in April and July 2020 allowed Chad to meet its immediate financing and urgent balance of payment needs in the early stages of the pandemic. The authorities have requested Fund assistance under the ECF to support their post-COVID recovery and their plan to reduce debt vulnerabilities through a combination of a debt workout and a multi-year fiscal consolidation program. However, due to the death of the president following a resurgence of fighting with rebel groups in April and the delayed delivery of donor support, the treasury situation has become extremely tight, threatening social stability.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The concomitant Covid-19 pandemic and oil price shock in 2020 have taken a heavy toll on the Algerian economy and the population. The authorities’ response helped mitigate the social and economic impact of the crisis. Nevertheless, the crisis exacerbated the Algerian economy’s vulnerabilities, making even more urgent the need for a new, more inclusive and sustainable, growth model. A recovery is underway in 2021, but the outlook remains challenging. While the recent rebound in hydrocarbon prices should buoy the recovery and ease immediate financing constraints, addressing long-standing structural challenges will help to realize Algeria’s vast growth potential for the benefit of its population.
The Covid-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on C.A.R.’s economy but appears now somewhat contained. The number of positive cases and related deaths has been very limited over the last few months, even though most containment measures have been progressively loosened. Despite some progress since the February 2019 peace agreement, the security situation remains precarious. Despite some delays in voter registration, the first round of the presidential and general elections is still scheduled on December 27.
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.