This Selected Issues paper on West African Economic and Monetary Union presents external stability assessment report. The current account deficit declined in 2014. Although gross international reserve coverage has increased slightly, part of the current account deficit has been financed by a decline in commercial banks’ net foreign assets. Contingent on the implementation of government’s consolidation plans, and helped by a favorable oil price outlook, the current account deficit would further gradually decline and be matched by enough financial inflows in the medium term. According to various metrics, the real exchange rate appears to be broadly aligned with fundamentals. International reserve coverage should increase to provide stronger buffers against immediate short-term risks. Structural competitiveness and investment efficiency improvements will be essential to ensure that the planned large investment programs translate into growth and export gains as well as increased private inflows into the region.
Mr. Gilles Montagnat-Rentier and Mr. Gilles Parent
This paper outlines reforms that have been achieved in the modernization of the customs administrations of francophone sub-Saharan (African) countries since the mid-1990s. It also highlights the remaining issues in this process. Progress has been made in the automation of operations and procedures, with constant and significant efforts to strengthen revenue collection and improve trade facilitation in a number of countries. However, the pace and scope of modernization remains insufficient, particularly in developing customs control and enforcement capacities, and enhancing operational resources and management. The findings suggest that the authorities’ strong commitment to reform, organizational and management changes, adequate technical assistance and project management, and effective implementation of modern customs standards, are critical to accelerate the modernization of customs in francophone sub-Saharan Africa.
The paper models export taxation of a primary commodity in a large country under two hypotheses about the structure of its export market. The first is perfect competition among exporters, where there is an indefinite number of buyers of the local product and at least a partial pass-through of international prices to local producers. The second is an oligopsony, a market structure in some low-income countries where numerous scattered local producers face a few powerful exporters that can influence domestic prices. For both hypotheses, export taxation can be justified on efficiency grounds only for the country that adopts the tax. Designed correctly, a low export tax may be welfare-enhancing for that country but will always be welfare-reducing for its trading partners. The models of export taxation for both hypotheses are calibrated for the illustrative case of cocoa exports from Côte d’Ivoire.
Ms. Anne Marie Gulde and Mr. Charalambos G Tsangarides
About one-third of countries covered by the IMF's African Department are members of the CFA franc zone. With most other countries moving away from fixed exchange rates, the issue of an adequate policy framework to ensure the sustainability of the CFA franc zone is clearly of interest to policymakers and academics. However, little academic research exists in the public domain. This book aims to fill this void by bringing together work undertaken in the context of intensified regional surveillance and highlighting the current challenges and the main policy requirements if the arrangements are to be carried forward. The book is based on empirical research by a broad group of IMF economists, with contributions from several outside experts.
This paper examines the reform of the external tariff initiated by the CEMAC and the WAEMU that is aimed at reinforcing their economic integration. Overall, there is broad compliance with the streamlined and moderate rates, but with significant deviations from the harmonized paths in several countries. WAMZ countries, except Ghana, need to undertake major reforms in order to align their external tariff structures with that of the WAEMU as planned for 2007. To promote full compliance with the harmonized external tariff policies, the paper suggests, measures need to be taken, including the creation of financial incentives, at the regional and country levels.
Preference erosion has become an obstacle to multilateral trade liberalization, as beneficiaries of trade preferences have an incentive to resist reductions in mostfavored- nation (MFN) tariffs. This study identifies middle-income developing countries that are vulnerable to export revenue loss from preference erosion. It concludes that the problem is heavily concentrated in a sub-set of preference beneficiaries-primarily small island economies dependent on sugar, banana, and-to a lesser extent-textile exports. Accordingly, measures to help mitigate the impact of preference erosion can be closely targeted at the countries at risk.
There has been a marked deterioration in the economic and financial performance of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) as a whole. These developments reflected unfavorable terms of trade, political conflicts in certain countries, and a weakening of adjustment policies. Progress needs to be made in achieving fiscal consolidation and macroeconomic convergence among WAEMU member countries. It would be important to achieve a greater integration of the WAEMU region's money and financial markets.
This paper presents four commentaries by an IMF Deputy Managing Director on integration and growth in a globalized world economy. Globalized and integrated financial markets are the norm, complete with their tremendous opportunities—the chance to quicken the pace of investment, job creation, and growth—and, some inevitable risks. The paper also highlights that sound macroeconomic policies must be a top priority, and that these policies must be supported by transparency and accountability. Policies at the country and global level must be mutually reinforcing; industrial countries meeting the more outward-oriented policies of developing countries with greater openness around the world. It is recommended that the IMF agenda must include adopting bold structural reforms and building a social consensus for reform through economic security, good governance, and a better dialogue with civil society in Africa. In the Berlin address, it is suggested that development rests on three pillars: good economic policy, a favorable legal and political environment, and attention to equitable social development.
Mr. Reint Gropp, Mr. Liam P. Ebrill, and Ms. Janet Gale Stotsky
The apparent contradiction between trade liberalization and continuing high trade tax revenue raises the important question of how, precisely, the one affects the other. Although policymakers generally recognize the long-term benefits of trade liberalization, some have argued for at least a slower pace, in part because of revenue concerns. This paper seeks to address these issues in three complimentary ways: through an overview of the factors that may have a bearing on the question, through a review of trends in trade tax revenue both globally and in selected countries, and through econometric analysis.