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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

After four turbulent years, the outlook for sub-Saharan Africa is gradually improving. Growth will rise from 3.4 percent in 2023 to 3.8 percent in 2024, with nearly two thirds of countries anticipating higher growth. Economic recovery is expected to continue beyond this year, with growth projections reaching 4.0 percent in 2025. Additionally, inflation has almost halved, public debt ratios have broadly stabilized, and several countries have issued Eurobonds this year, ending a two-year hiatus from international markets. However, not all is favorable. The funding squeeze persists as the region’s governments continue to grapple with financing shortages, high borrowing costs, and impending debt repayments. Risks to the outlook remain tilted to the downside. The region continues to be more vulnerable to global external shocks, as well as the threat of rising political instability, and frequent climate events. Three policy priorities can help countries adapt to these challenges: improving public finances without undermining development; monetary policy focused on ensuring price stability; and implementing structural reforms to diversify funding sources and economies. Amid these challenges, sub-Saharan African countries will need additional support from the international community to develop a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous future.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The Middle East and North Africa and the Caucasus and Central Asia regions are positively impacted by the resilience of the global economy. Lower global commodity prices and vigilant policy responses have helped ease inflation in most countries. However, uncertainty and risks have risen amid ongoing conflicts, shipping disruptions, and reduced oil production. This is leading to an uneven recovery across the Middle East and Central Asia, with growth rates varying this year. Policymakers need to ensure economic stability and debt sustainability while navigating geopolitical risks and improving medium-term growth prospects. Amid high uncertainty, it is essential that countries implement reforms to enhance their fundamentals, including by strengthening institutions. Additionally, countries can seize potential economic opportunities amid shifting trade patterns by reducing long-standing trade barriers, diversifying products and markets, and improving infrastructure.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

The conflict in Gaza and Israel is yet another shock to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. It is causing immense human suffering and exacerbating an already challenging environment for neighboring economies and beyond. This Update covers economies in the MENA region and does not discuss developments in Israel. It discusses the updated outlook for the region, risks, and policy recommendations.

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.

Abstract

After a stronger-than-expected recovery from the pandemic and continued resilience in early 2023, economic growth in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) is softening as the effect of tighter policies to combat inflation is taking hold and the external environment is weakening. The early and swift monetary tightening across the region since 2021, together with the withdrawal of most of the pandemic fiscal stimulus and the reversal of external price pressures, have helped put headline inflation on a downward trajectory. Core inflation has also started to ease, as price pressures are becoming less generalized, although it remains elevated amid strong labor markets and positive output gaps in some countries. Banking systems have weathered the rise in interest rates well and are generally healthy, though credit to the private sector is decelerating amid tighter supply conditions and weaker demand.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Across the Middle East and Central Asia, the combined effects of global headwinds, domestic challenges, and geopolitical risks weigh on economic momentum, and the outlook is highly uncertain. Growth is set to slow this year in the Middle East and North Africa region, driven by lower oil production, tight policy settings in emerging market and middle-income economies, the conflict in Sudan, and other country-specific factors. In the Caucasus and Central Asia, although migration, trade, and financial inflows following Russia’s war in Ukraine continue to support economic activity, growth is set to moderate slightly this year. Looking ahead, economic activity in the Middle East and North Africa region is expected to improve in 2024 and 2025 as some factors weighing on growth this year gradually dissipate, including the temporary oil production cuts. But growth is expected to remain subdued over the forecast horizon amid persistent structural hurdles. In the Caucasus and Central Asia, economic growth is projected to slow next year and over the medium term as the boost to activity from real and financial inflows from Russia gradually fades and deep-seated structural challenges remain unsolved. Inflation is broadly easing, in line with globally declining price pressures, although country-specific factors—including buoyant wage growth in some Caucasus and Central Asia countries—and climate-related events continue to make their mark. Despite some improvement since April, the balance of risks to the outlook remains on the downside. In this context, expediting structural reforms is crucial to boost growth and strengthen resilience, while tight monetary and fiscal policies remain essential in several economies to durably bring down inflation and ensure public debt sustainability.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept. and International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

On the occasion of the World Bank-IMF Annual Meetings’ return to the African continent after 50 years—specifically to Marrakech, Morocco—this Special Issue on Africa discusses economic developments for the entire continent. After four years of crises and at the close of another difficult year, recent events, including the devastating earthquake in Morocco, severe floods in Libya, and the impact of Cyclone Freddy in Malawi, have underscored the continent’s ongoing vulnerability to natural disasters and the need to build resilience. In the near term, there are tentative signs that the outlook in many countries in Africa is improving. Inflation is generally easing, economic activity is starting to pick up, and fiscal imbalances are gradually moderating. However, significant challenges remain, and it is too early to celebrate. For too many countries, inflation is still too high, debt vulnerabilities remain elevated, and medium-term growth rates are too low. Recent episodes of political instability also underscore the fragility of conflict-affected states. Against this background, Africa’s policymakers should prioritize efforts to boost resilience by ensuring macroeconomic stability and accel-erating structural reforms to foster stronger, more inclusive growth. The international community should maintain and enhance a cooperative approach to the provision of global public goods. In the case of Africa, it is essential to support the region’s most vulnerable climate- and conflict-affected states.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

Abstract

Still emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic, countries in sub-Saharan Africa have been hit by a sluggish global economy, worldwide inflation, high borrowing costs, and a cost-of-living crisis. In many cases, inflation is still too high, borrowing costs are still elevated, exchange-rate pressures persist, and political instability is an ongoing concern. To ensure that the coming rebound is more than just a transitory glimpse of sunshine, it is important for authorities to guard against a premature relaxation of stabilization policies, while also focusing on reforms to both claw back lost ground from the four-year crisis and also to create new space to address the region’s pressing development needs.

Abstract

Governance and corruption issues have taken the center stage in international discussions, especially after the adoption by the IMF in 2018 of a new framework for engagement on governance and corruption. Sound institutions that guarantee integrity in the management of public affairs are critical on the path toward higher and more inclusive growth. Corruption undermines the quality of institutions, weakens the effectiveness of government programs, and compromises social trust in government policies. Indeed, countries around the world that improved their governance systems are reaping a “governance dividend,” and governance-enhancing reformist countries in sub-Saharan Africa include Botswana, Rwanda, and Seychelles. In addition, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Angola demonstrate that important reforms are possible, including in fragile environments. The importance of good governance has acquired even more importance as countries try to introduce policies to fight the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Special attention to governance in an emergency context, including situations associated with conflict, other health crises and natural disasters, is therefore essential. Innovation and new technologies are critical instruments that policymakers can use in their efforts to improve governance and transparency.

International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.

This paper presents a description of the Project Analysis Course offered by the World Bank’s Economic Development Institute (EDI). The main objective of EDI is to give individuals a general understanding of all the main elements involved in preparing, evaluating, and executing development projects. At the end of the course, EDI expects graduates to be able to help design project studies or to participate in the overall evaluations on which final decisions are heavily based.

International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.

Abstract

Uncertainty has become increasingly prevalent amid ongoing conflicts, shipping disruptions, and lower oil production. In turn, an uneven recovery is emerging, with growth this year at varying speeds across the Middle East and Central Asia (ME&CA). In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), conflicts continue in several economies, providing stark reminders of their devastating human toll and long-term economic scarring. Some emerging market and middle-income countries (EM&MIs) face financing pressures and persistently high inflation. While some oil exporters continued with additional voluntary oil production cuts, they are strengthening nonhydrocarbon activity. In the Caucasus and Central Asia (CCA), growth momentum remains robust despite diminishing real and financial inflows related to the war in Ukraine, and hydrocarbon importers are generally growing faster than exporters due to stronger domestic demand. Across ME&CA, inflation is close to historical averages or targets for many economies and is projected to continue easing.