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.
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.
Guinea Bissau is a fragile state with a long history of political instability. Poverty is high with about 67 percent of the population living below the poverty line of US$1.90 per day. The economy relies heavily on the production and exports of unprocessed cashew nuts, making most households highly vulnerable to cashew nut price shocks and climate change risks.
A technical assistance (TA) mission on Government Finance Statistics (GFS) and Public Sector Debt Statistics (PSDS) visited the city of Praia, Republic of Cabo Verde, from July 22 to August 2, 2019, with the aim of putting more and better-quality fiscal data —particularly on PSDS — in the hands of public decision makers. The mission was funded by the Data for Decisions (D4D) fund under module 1 on fiscal data including debt.
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. Secretary's Department
This year, as the world faced a crisis like no other, the International Monetary Fund and its member countries swung into action to save lives and put a floor under the world economy. But the outlook remains uncertain. Countries now face a “long ascent” that will be difficult, uneven, uncertain, and prone to setbacks. The IMF is working to help countries focus on "policies for people" to generate a transformational recovery through job-rich growth that benefits all.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
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.
O mundo continua a braços com a pandemia de Covid-19 e a aparente aceleração do ritmo das alterações climáticas, o que sublinha a necessidade de reforçar a cooperação e o diálogo a nível mundial. As soluções para estes problemas globais têm de envolver todos os países e todas as regiões, em especial a África Subsariana, que tem a menor percentagem de população vacinada do mundo, o potencial mais promissor em matéria de energias renováveis e ecossistemas críticos. A economia da África Subsariana deverá crescer 3,7% em 2021 e 3,8% em 2022. Após a forte contração registada em 2020 esta retoma é muito bem-vinda, mas continua a representar a recuperação mais lenta face a outras regiões. Em particular, as perspetivas económicas apontam para divergências a três níveis: entre a África Subsariana e outras regiões, na África Subsariana e dentro dos países. Estas divergências refletem o ritmo de vacinação mais lento na região, um espaço orçamental mais limitado e disparidades regionais em matéria de resistência. As perspetivas continuam extremamente incertas e os riscos estão inclinados no sentido descendente. A recuperação depende, em especial, da trajetória da pandemia a nível mundial e do esforço de vacinação à escala regional, da inflação dos preços dos produtos alimentares, sendo igualmente vulnerável a perturbações na atividade mundial e nos mercados financeiros. Numa análise prospetiva, o potencial da África Subsariana mantém-se intacto. A região encontra se num momento crítico para implementar reformas transformadoras arrojadas e tirar partido deste potencial.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
An economic recovery is underway in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) but the pandemic still casts shadows on much of the region. The recovery was robust in the first quarter of 2021 but lost momentum in some countries in the second quarter, reflecting the rebound in COVID-19 cases. Real GDP is projected to grow by 6.3 percent in 2021, followed by a more moderate growth of 3 percent in 2022, but would not catch up with pre-pandemic trends in the medium term as persistent weakness in labor markets raises risks of scarring. Broadly favorable external conditions, high commodity prices, and pent-up demand support short-term growth, while monetary and fiscal policy reversals work in the other direction. Risks to the outlook are tilted downward. Main downside risks are the emergence of more transmissible and deadlier COVID-19 variants, tightening of global financial conditions, sovereign debt rollover risks, and social unrest as a year with heavy election schedule looms. Fiscal policy should allocate sufficient resources for health spending, including vaccination, and continue to support households and firms in a more targeted fashion while the pandemic persists, backed by credible assurances of medium-term debt sustainability to maintain access to finance. Monetary policy has started to address inflationary pressures but should continue to support economic activity insofar as the dynamics of inflation expectations permit. If rising inflation threatens to de-anchor inflation expectations, central banks should tighten monetary policy to signal a commitment to inflation targets and avoid persistent increases in inflation. Preemptive and decisive action should be accompanied with clear and transparent communication. Financial policy should shift from blanket support to targeted support of viable firms, to ensure that necessary labor and capital reallocations are not hindered. Supply-side policies should foster inclusive growth, including through progressive and growth-friendly tax reforms and measures to intensify climate change adaptation and mitigation.