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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
São Tomé and Príncipe has maintained macroeconomic stability in the period since the previous ECF review (February 2021). International support and the authorities’ swift actions helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic so far. Growth is estimated at 3 percent in 2020, supported by externally-financed spending. Growth is projected to slow to 2 percent in 2021, reflecting delays in the return of tourists, and to strengthen to 3 percent in 2022. The economic outlook is subject to high uncertainty and downside risks, notably the evolution of the pandemic.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Guinea-Bissau is a fragile state with considerable needs to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and address developmental challenges. After an estimated 1.4 percent of GDP contraction in 2020, a modest recovery of about 3.3 percent is projected for 2021 on the back of higher cashew exports, the gradual lifting of COVID containment measures and a more stable political situation. The outlook is subject to considerable uncertainty. An RCF disbursement of SDR 14.2 million (50 percent of quota) was approved in January to provide urgent financing (35 percent of the external gap in 2021) to support critical spending in health and catalyze additional donor resources. The RCF followed two years of protracted political turmoil and delays in reforms, now undertaken by the new government. Public debt was assessed as sustainable in a forward-looking sense based on the authorities’ commitment to sound policies supported by strong donor engagement and a Fund program. Debt service relief under the CCRT has provided some fiscal space and the country’s participation in the DSSI should also help mobilize additional resources. After the 2021 budget approval within the statutory deadlines, significant and sustained reform efforts are required to meet the WAEMU 3 percent of GDP overall balance criteria by 2025 and bring public debt-to-GDP ratio within 70 percent by end-2026.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
São Tomé and Príncipe has maintained macroeconomic stability, despite many challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated long-standing socio-economic vulnerabilities, which were further compounded by persistent energy shortages and damages from the floods in end-2021. Growth declined in 2021 with power outages, while a targeted expansion of the cash transfer and food support programs provided needed relief to the most vulnerable. Strong grant financing remains critical for mitigating the impact of the pandemic. Vaccinations are proceeding, although the new COVID-19 variants pose risks for protracting the impact of the pandemic and require renewed actions to mitigate those risks. Parliamentary elections are expected in October 2022.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
After two years of protracted political turmoil and delays in reforms, the authorities put in place in 2021 an ambitious fiscal consolidation program to ensure debt sustainability while creating fiscal space to address vast developmental needs. In late July, Fund Management approved a 9-month Staff Monitored Program (SMP) to support the government’s reform program aimed at stabilizing the economy, strengthening governance, and building a soundtrack-record of policy implementation towards an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. The first review was concluded satisfactorily in October. A Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) disbursement of SDR 14.2 million (50 percent of quota) was approved in January to provide urgent financing to support critical spending in health and catalyze additional donor resources. The RCF disbursement, the SDR 27.2 million allocation (96 percent of quota) and reforms underpinned by the SMP are contributing to address fragility including the adverse impact of the pandemic, improve government spending transparency and mitigate debt vulnerabilities, and create conditions that would help restore donor confidence and catalyze much-needed concessional financing.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

The pandemic continues to spread in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), but economic activity is picking up. After a deep contraction in April, activity started recovering in May, as lockdowns were gradually eased, consumers and firms adapted to social distancing, some countries introduced sizable policy support, and global activity strengthened.