Near-term macroeconomic prospects continue to improve in the context of higher oil prices and a gradual global recovery from the pandemic shock, but the medium-term outlook remains challenging and highly uncertain. Oil production remains muted, debt and inflation remain elevated, and non-oil activity is expected to recover only gradually. However, continued strong fiscal performance (aided by higher oil revenues), exchange rate stabilization, and a return to positive non-oil growth would contribute to a reduction in the debt-to-GDP ratio this year, easing debt vulnerabilities.
While improving, the economic outlook remains highly challenging, given the slow and uncertain recovery from the COVID-related shocks. Heavily dependent on oil, the Angolan economy has suffered from weakness in that sector, with falling production (related to the pandemic) and only a partial rebound in international prices recently. These shocks have led to a fifth straight year of recession and hardship. The public debt-to-GDP ratio has risen to very elevated levels, driven by recent real exchange rate depreciation. Nevertheless, strong fiscal performance and active debt management are setting the stage for a gradual economic recovery and reduction in debt vulnerabilities.
The economic outlook has substantially deteriorated since the Second Review, driven by the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on global economic activity and oil prices. The adverse impact of the shock on the Angolan economy, which is highly dependent on oil (95 percent of exports, two-thirds of government revenue), adds to the hardship from five consecutive years of recession. Rapid exchange rate depreciation and the decline in oil prices have pushed the public debt-to-GDP ratio to a very high level. However, continued fiscal retrenchment, prudent debt management, and debt reprofiling are expected to improve debt dynamics progressively.
The pandemic is taking a heavy toll on the fragile island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe. Tourist arrivals came to an abrupt halt in mid-March, externally financed projects are being delayed, and supply shipments are disrupted. In response to the local outbreak, emergency confinement measures have been in place since March to contain infection. The authorities began phasing out these measures in late June, aiming for a full reopening of the economy by end-July. A disbursement supported by the Rapid Credit Facility (SDR 9.028 million) was approved in April 2020. The authorities request an augmentation of the ECF program by 10 percent of quota (SDR 1.48 million).
São Tomé and Príncipe is a fragile, small island-state, with limited resources
and capacity. The last Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement expired at end-2018
having gone off-track amid parliamentary elections, power outages, internal and external
imbalances, and high debt vulnerability. Growth slowed, inflation rose, the fiscal position
deteriorated, and foreign reserves declined sharply in 2018, while some critical structural
reforms were delayed. Higher and more inclusive growth is needed to reduce poverty
and unemployment, particularly among the large youth population.
Charlotte J. Lundgren, Mr. Alun H. Thomas, and Mr. Robert C York
Sizeable natural resource endowments and potentially large financial inflows from their extraction provide an unparalleled opportunity for economic growth and development in a growing number of sub-Saharan African countries. Empirical evidence suggests, however, that translating this resource wealth into stronger economic performance and a higher standard of living has proven challenging. Much has been written about the resource curse. This publication focuses on solutions to the challenges and outlines the main policy considerations and options in managing natural resource wealth, drawing on experience within and outside sub-Saharan Africa and referring closely to the latest analysis and policy advice in this area by the IMF, the World Bank, and leading academic research. A key feature of each chapter is a recommended reading list for those who wish additional, more in-depth material on these issues to further inform policymakers and other stakeholders on the theoretical and analytical underpinnings of the policy advice.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.