South Sudan is a very fragile post-conflict country. After five years of civil conflict, the warring parties came to an agreement for power-sharing in September 2018 and formed a unity government in February 2020. However, peace remains fragile in the face of difficult humanitarian and economic conditions. Already very high levels of poverty and food insecurity have been exacerbated by severe flooding in recent months. The floods (the worst in 60 years) have killed livestock, destroyed food stocks, and damaged crops ahead of the main harvest season. South Sudan’s economy has been hit hard by lower international oil prices following the COVID-19 pandemic.
After five years of civil conflict, the warring parties came to a peace agreement in September 2018. Until the COVID-19 crisis broke out, improved political stability and an uptick in international oil prices led to significant progress, with a rebound in economic growth, a decline in inflation, and a stabilization of the exchange rate. The COVID-19 pandemic is severely disrupting South Sudan’s economy, leading to a sharp decline in projected growth (-3.6 percent in FY20/21, about 10 percentage points below the pre-pandemic baseline) and a contraction of oil export proceeds—the main source of exports and fiscal revenue—which has given rise to urgent balance of payments needs and opened a large fiscal financing gap.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This Selected Issues paper on Sudan provides a first stock-taking of the scale, main transmission channels and potential costs of poor governance and corruption in Sudan and offers preliminary recommendations. A large body of literature and country analyses confirm that weak governance and corruption undermine economic growth, amplify income inequality and erode public trust in the institutions. According to international agencies and existing literature, Sudan has scored very poorly on compliance with rule of law best practices in the past. Effective implementation of preventive measures is important; particularly in relation to politically exposed persons. Transparency on beneficial ownership of legal persons and arrangements to prevent their misuse for laundering the proceeds of corruption are necessary. Transparency, accountability, and comprehensive communication should be the backbone of governance and anti-corruption reforms in each sector. Rationalizing tax exemptions and phasing out tax holidays would strengthen governance while boosting fiscal revenues.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses that while the peace agreement signed in September 2018 has improved the prospects for lasting peace in South Sudan, the implementation of the agreement has become more protracted than envisaged with the recently announced six-month delay in forming a new national unity government. A relapse into war in mid-2016 spread insecurity across the country and severely affected all economic activities and exacerbated the humanitarian crisis and food insecurity. The country is in a serious economic crisis. The discussions focused on the urgent need to restore macroeconomic stability and rebuild economic buffers. Addressing the macroeconomic imbalance, supported by improvements in oil management and public financial management, is an important factor to rebuild confidence in government policies. This will be necessary to regain access to external financial support from development partners. One of the key policy recommendations is to strengthen oil management and transparency by an immediate stop of contracting new oil-backed advances.
Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Alexander Herman, and Mr. Andrew J Swiston
The decline in oil prices in 2014-16 was one of the sharpest in history, and put to test theresilience of oil exporters. We examine the degree to which economic fundamentals enteringthe oil price decline explain the impact on economic growth across oil exporting economies,and derive policy implications as to what factors help to mitigate the negative effects. We find that pre-existing fundamentals account for about half of the cross-country variation inthe impact of the shock. Oil exporters that weathered the shock better tended to have astronger fiscal position, higher foreign currency liquidity buffers, a more diversified exportbase, a history of price stability, and a more flexible exchange rate regime. Within this groupof countries, the impact of the shock is not found to be related to the size of oil exports, orthe share of oil in fiscal revenue or economic activity.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that South Sudan’s economic performance has been mixed in recent years. Real GDP growth has displayed high volatility, the result of changes in oil and agricultural production. Inflation rose in an initial period of economic instability in 2011–12 but was contained in 2013–14 thanks to fiscal and monetary restraint and lower food prices. Serious challenges remain, including distortions in the foreign exchange market and in budget execution, lower international oil prices, and subdued oil production. As a result, financing the budget for FY2014/15 is challenging and will likely require policy decisions given the otherwise potentially adverse impact on economic stability and inflation.
Economic growth is estimated to have moderated further in 2010 to about 5 percent, reflecting slower growth in both the oil and non-oil sectors. The overall commitment fiscal deficit for 2010 is now estimated at 2.7 percent of GDP, about 0.6 percentage point of GDP below the program target. Monetary policy was expansionary in the first half of 2010, but was subsequently tightened. The current account deficit narrowed during the first three quarters of 2010 largely driven by an increase in oil exports.
Sudan’s 2006 Article IV Consultation reports that growth has been robust, inflation has been kept at a single-digit level, and important reforms have been undertaken. There has been progress with financial sector reforms and trade liberalization, and the managed floating exchange rate regime has been working well. Despite an increase in oil revenues, the fiscal space of the central government will be constrained because of the transfers required by the peace agreement and decentralization.
This paper examines Sudan’s 2005 Article IV Consultation and the Final Review of the 2004 and 2005 Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). Between 2001 and 2004, the economy of Sudan grew at an average rate of 6.4 percent per year, and the non-oil sector expanded at an annual rate of 5.3 percent. The program for 2005 is based on prudent financial policies. The program will need to be adjusted by midyear to reflect additional financing arising from higher oil prices and aid and previously unfunded expenditures on social and infrastructure projects.