Niger’s new government developed an ambitious reform agenda in the face of daunting challenges. The previous ECF-supported program was able to preserve macroeconomic stability and implement some key PFM reforms, notwithstanding the pandemic. However, progress on revenue mobilization was more limited, reflecting capacity constraints and a challenging environment. For the new government to achieve its development goals, it will have to overcome deep-seated social and political divisions and a deteriorating regional security situation. Enhanced reforms and the advent of oil exports over the medium-term offer hope that greater domestic resources can be marshalled to accelerate growth and poverty reduction.
The authorities have reacted to the COVID-19 crisis in an appropriate manner, including through increased spending on health and a rollout of the vaccination program. Nevertheless, the deterioration of socio-economic indicators during the pandemic could create scars that would significantly lower growth if left unaddressed.
The WAEMU has, so far, demonstrated strong resilience to the Covid crisis. The economic rebound that started in the second half of 2020 firmed up in 2021, while fiscal and monetary policies remained supportive. External reserves have risen to comfortable levels and the financial system appears to be broadly sound. However, the region faces significant challenges to ensure the sustainability of macroeconomic policies, while supporting the economic recovery and navigating the uncertain outlook.
President Touadéra was reelected for a second term, despite attempts by armed groups to prevent the general and presidential elections from being held. While the security situation has improved since these groups’ attacks on Bangui were repulsed in January, the prolonged closure of the trade corridor with Cameroon had a substantial economic and fiscal impact, significantly affecting the growth prospects for this year and the cash position of the government. The government’s relations with development partners have deteriorated causing delays in grants disbursements. The number of Covid-19 cases and deaths temporarily increased in the Spring but has returned to a very low level. The three-year ECF arrangement approved in December 2019 is off track, with most performance criteria and structural benchmarks missed prior to the intensification of the domestic conflict, and the third review has not been completed.
This paper highlights Seychelles’ First Review Under the Extended Fund Facility Arrangement. Driven by a swift recovery of the tourism sector, the Seychellois economy has rebounded strongly from the severe contraction in 2020 and program implementation is strong. The authorities have made substantial strides in restoring macroeconomic stability and are committed to the structural reform agenda. Front-loaded fiscal adjustment is appropriate to reduce debt vulnerabilities and fiscal risks. The liability management operation implemented in 2021 and deeper fiscal consolidation have substantially reduced rollover risks and laid the foundation for further easing of domestic financial conditions. Prudent debt management remains essential to further reduce vulnerabilities. Further improvements to public debt management capacity would be welcome. Continued efforts are needed to safeguard financial sector stability. The authorities are taking steps to improve transparency and public efficiency. Further efforts to pursue governance reforms are encouraged. It will be important to advance structural reforms to promote private sector development, support diversification, and build resilience to climate change.
This paper highlights Niger’s Request for a Three-Year Arrangement Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). Niger’s new government developed an ambitious reform agenda in the face of daunting challenges. The decline in economic activity caused by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, coupled with security challenges and climate-related shocks, heightened fiscal pressures and balance of payment needs. The three-year arrangement under the ECF will support the implementation of the authorities’ reform agenda to buttress macroeconomic stability while laying the foundations for stronger and more inclusive growth. The program will also support efforts to meet the regional fiscal deficit convergence criterion and strengthen debt management. Reforms will focus on broadening fiscal space, improving spending quality to allow for much needed investment and social spending, advancing the anti-corruption and governance agenda, and addressing constraints to the business environment to foster private sector development. Niger’s new government developed an ambitious reform agenda in the face of daunting challenges.
The Cabo Verdean economy is in recession as a result of the economic impact of the pandemic that has shut down the tourism and transport sectors and significantly affected the rest of the economy. The number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise with concentration in the largest island, though the recovery rate is high. The economic outlook remains highly uncertain and dependent upon the duration of the pandemic, the global economic recovery, and the authorities’ ability to support the expected economic recovery through the appropriate policies and reforms. Legislative and presidential elections are scheduled for April and October, respectively.
The current account deficit by the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina in recent years has fluctuated to about 20 percent of GDP. But official current account statistics suffer from several shortcomings. Possible sources of the savings required to achieve a fiscal position consistent with long-term fiscal sustainability is discussed. A theoretical model of the trade balance has been developed and used as the basis for estimating a quarterly regression model of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s trade balance. Effective fiscal coordination is essential in Bosnia and Herzegovina.