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.
This study focuses on identifying the main factors that influenced country-specific and aggregate demand for IMF concessional financing between 1986 and 2018 and makes within-period and out-of-period forecasts. We find that the external debt level, inflation, and real effective exchange rate are the main economic variables influencing concessional borrowing for most eligible countries. Finally, our approach is able to provide quite accurate country-level and aggregate forecasts for historical financing events prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.