Sierra Leone has made significant strides to rebuild its public infrastructure after the devastating civil war, but the desperate infrastructure needs remain. At the end of the conflict in 2002, the country was left with virtually no infrastructure. Redevelopment of public infrastructure was ignited by the mining boom, which started in the late 2000s. Over the period 2008−18, public investment averaged 6.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), which has translated into an estimated capital stock of about 65 percent in constant 2011 GDP. However, a level of public investment is still lower than neighboring countries by about one percentage point. The level of capital stock per capita is one of the lowest in the region, only slightly above that of Liberia. Some districts still have no paved roads, no electricity, and no water systems, almost 20 years after the war.
Drawing on the Fund’s analytical and capacity development work, including Public Investment Management Assessments (PIMAs) carried out in more than 60 countries, the new book Well Spent: How Strong Infrastructure Governance Can End Waste in Public Investment will address how countries can attain quality infrastructure outcomes through better infrastructure governance—an issue becoming increasingly important in the context of the Great Lockdown and its economic consequences. It covers critical issues such as infrastructure investment and Sustainable Development Goals, controlling corruption, managing fiscal risks, integrating planning and budgeting, and identifying best practices in project appraisal and selection. It also covers emerging areas in infrastructure governance, such as maintaining and managing public infrastructure assets and building resilience against climate change.
The level of public investment in Belize has varied over the past years in the context of existing constraints. The sharp increase in public debt has limited available fiscal space.1 This has resulted in an increase in externally financed investments as a share of the capital budget and a growing interest in public private partnerships (PPPs) to help achieve the government of Belize’s national strategy objectives.2 However, the correlation between Belize’s public investment and GDP growth remains weak, and the public capital stock as a ratio to GDP shows a sharp deterioration, possibly pointing to investment inefficiencies.
The development of infrastructure is one of the pillars of the Emerging Gabon Strategic Plan (PSGE). Implemented as of 2012, the PSGE has been establishing priority strategic guidelines to transform Gabon into an emerging economy by 2025. Its primary aims are to ensure and expedite the country’s sustainable development and growth by focusing on potential growth sectors. Public investment grew continuously from 2009 to 2013, when it peaked at 15.2 percent of GDP; it averaged 5.7 percent growth from 1990 to 2018. At the same time, private investment declined, as did growth and public capital stock. These outcomes indicate that public investment in Gabon does not drive growth and that investment expenditure does not automatically translate into actual accumulation of assets, which raises questions about the efficiency of those outlays.
In response to a request from the Gabonese authorities, a mission from the Fiscal Affairs Department of the IMF visited Libreville to conduct an evaluation of public investment management, using the Public Investment Management Assessment methodology. The report highlights that enhancing the efficiency of public investment is essential, given Gabon’s current budget constraints. Improving public investment management (PIM) should help stem the declines in public investment efficiency in Gabon. In terms of infrastructure quality, public investment efficiency has fallen to half of the expected optimal level, compared to a 20 percent decline both worldwide and in Sub-Saharan Africa, as well as a 31 percent decline in member states of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union. The findings of the PIM assessment reveal structural deficiencies in planning procedures and institutional arrangements. Eight recommendations are put forward to enhance PIM efficiency in the short and medium terms, with three urgent steps needed to rationalize planning.
This paper presents 2019 Article IV Consultation with the Republic of Moldova and its Sixth Reviews Under the Extended Credit Facility and Extended Fund Facility Arrangements. Moldova’s economic growth remained solid in the first three quarters of 2019, with output expanding nearly 5 percent, supported by strong domestic demand. The three-year program has been broadly successful in achieving its objectives. Comprehensive reforms have rehabilitated the banking system and strengthened financial sector governance, entrenching macrofinancial stability. Prudent and well-coordinated policies are needed to safeguard the progress achieved. Decisive governance and institutional reforms are necessary for faster, sustainable, and inclusive growth. Safeguarding central bank independence is a priority. The inflation-targeting (IT) regime remains appropriate, but additional efforts are needed to improve policy credibility, promote exchange rate flexibility, and disincentivize foreign currency intermediation. Widespread governance and institutional vulnerabilities are major impediments to accelerating income convergence. Addressing these could have significant growth dividends through faster capital accumulation, reduced labor and human capital headwinds from emigration, and higher productivity.
The Public Investment Management Assessment (PIMA) of Benin has brought to light an institutional framework of high quality but ineffective implementation. In accordance with the PIMA methodology applied in several countries, the mission focused on assessing the institutional strengths for each institution in the analytical framework, as well as its effective implementation. The authorities in 2016 adopted an ambitious investment plan, the government action program (PAG), which is designed to stimulate Benin's economic and social development. Investments in flagship sectors have been identified as means to support this development; the PAG provides recourse primarily to new financing mechanisms, such as public-private partnerships, to ensure the realization of these investments. In connection with the implementation of the PAG, the financial incidences of selected projects should be fully accounted for and reflected in the budget documentation to ensure their sustainability. Enhanced coordination of planning and budget exercises would encourage a better consideration of recurrent expenditure.