The Mauritanian transition authorities embarked on a path toward democracy, rule of law, and good governance. The transition authorities initiated a wide range of structural reforms based on the priorities that emerged from consultations with civil society and political parties, and emphasizing the need to improve transparency and governance. The discussions on fiscal and monetary policies and on structural reforms aimed at consolidating recent progress toward macroeconomic stabilization, good governance, and transparency. Mauritania will benefit from considerable technical assistance (TA) from the IMF.
Mauritania was one of the countries to reach the completion point under the enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries. The revised fiscal, balance of payments, and monetary data, including data on commercial banks, revealed that the main program parameters were missed by large margins. In 2003–04, progress in structural reforms was slower than planned, and major weaknesses surfaced in fiscal, monetary, and exchange rate management. Executive Directors welcomed the authorities’ intention to gear medium-term spending plans toward poverty reduction.
Many governments are heavily exposed to oil price risk, especially those dependent on revenue derived from oil production. For these governments, dealing with large price movements is difficult and costly. Traditional approaches, such as stabilization funds, are inherently flawed. Oil risk markets could be a solution. These markets have matured greatly in the last decade, and their range and depth could allow even substantial producers, and consumers, to hedge their oil price risk. Yet governments have held back from using these markets, mainly for fear of the political cost and lack of know how. This suggests that the IMF, together with other development agencies, should consider encouraging governments to explore the scope for hedging their oil price risk.