The Covid-19 pandemic had a substantial impact on C.A.R.’s economy but appears now somewhat contained. The number of positive cases and related deaths has been very limited over the last few months, even though most containment measures have been progressively loosened. Despite some progress since the February 2019 peace agreement, the security situation remains precarious. Despite some delays in voter registration, the first round of the presidential and general elections is still scheduled on December 27.
Since the approval of the first Rapid Credit Facility (RCF-1) request on May 4, 2020 (IMF Country Report No 20/185), weaker external demand in major trading partners (China and Europe) and a more pronounced impact of containment measures to slow the rising number of COVID-19 cases, have further deteriorated growth prospects and worsened Cameroon’s external and fiscal positions. Given limited fiscal buffers and urgent balance of payments needs due to the pandemic, the authorities allowed the current ECF arrangement expire at end-September, reiterated their interest on a successor arrangement, and in the meantime requested financial assistance under the “exogenous shocks window” of the RCF equivalent to 40 percent of quota (SDR 110.4 million). This additional request will bring the total disbursement under the RCF to 100 percent of quota in 2020.
This paper focuses on Cameroon’s Requests for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), Extension of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement, and Rephasing of Access. The outbreak of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and the terms of trade shocks from the sharp fall in oil prices are having a significant impact on Cameroon’s economy, leading to a historic fall of real gross domestic product growth. The authorities are taking decisive actions to limit the spread of the virus and its economic and social impact. They have implemented strong crisis containment and mitigation measures and are scaling up spending to bolster their health response. Additional measures currently under consideration will provide support to vulnerable households and firms. IMF emergency financing under the RCF will support the government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the twin shocks. Additional assistance from development partners will be critical to fill the remaining financing need. Strict budgetary controls and transparency will be needed to ensure that the assistance under the RCF meets its intended objectives.
France is among the countries most affected by the global pandemic, both in terms of health and economic impact. Output is expected to have declined by around 9 percent in 2020. The authorities put in place a large emergency fiscal package to address the crisis, focused on preserving jobs and providing liquidity for households and firms, supplemented by additional stimulus measures to support the economic recovery in 2021 and beyond. The banking sector entered the crisis with comfortable buffers and, together with the support of the ECB’s accommodative monetary policy, facilitated the provision of credit to the economy. The increased leverage, however, poses solvency risks to the corporate sector. A partial recovery with GDP growth at about 5½ percent is expected in 2021. Risks to the outlook are large, dominated by the virus dynamics and, together with other risks, tilted somewhat to the downside.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The growth impact of the COVID-19 crisis has so far been less severe than expected, as strong consumption helped offset weak tourism and investment. Measures taken to address the health and social needs and support the sectors most directly affected by the crisis appear to have helped mitigate the impact of the shock. External market conditions have improved with a strong return of portfolio inflows since the approval of the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA).
With one of the world’s lowest levels of human development, Niger has enormous needs but only limited own resources to meet them. Insecurity in the Sahel, climate change, and low prices for its uranium exports are further challenges. Niger’s economy performed reasonably well before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. GDP growth exceeded 6 percent and large foreign projects were attracted, notably a pipeline for the export of crude oil. A new government will take office in April 2021.