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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely affected Benin. The authorities’ early and decisive action has helped stave off the spread of the virus, and a sizeable fiscal response has kept a recession at bay. Nevertheless, the economy has suffered a substantial downgrade in its economic outlook, with growth slowing down from 6.9 percent in 2019 to 2 percent in 2020, against an initial projection of 7 percent before the pandemic. Large financing needs, opened by the authorities’ fiscal response to the crisis, have given rise to an urgent balance of payments need.
Irene Yackovlev, Ms. Zuzana Murgasova, Fei Liu, Gohar Minasyan, and Ke Wang
How to Operationalize IMF Engagement on Social Spending during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 Crisis
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Benin’s Fifth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement, Request for Extension, and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria. Program implementation continues to be very satisfactory. The macroeconomic and structural policies outlined by the authorities are adequate to pursue the program’s objectives, and risks to program implementation are deemed manageable. Benin’s economic performance remains strong despite a less supportive external environment and the border closure with Nigeria. The significant increase in the share of external debt in total debt in the past two years warrants caution. The recent debt reprofiling operation and the Eurobond issuance have contributed to lowering borrowing costs, diversifying the financing structure, and extending debt maturity. However, these operations can also generate new vulnerabilities that will need to be mitigated through an enhanced debt management strategy and continued capacity improvements at the debt management office.
International Monetary Fund. Fiscal Affairs Dept.
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.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Benin’s Fifth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement, Request for Extension, and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria. Program implementation continues to be very satisfactory. The macroeconomic and structural policies outlined by the authorities are adequate to pursue the program’s objectives, and risks to program implementation are deemed manageable. Benin’s economic performance remains strong despite a less supportive external environment and the border closure with Nigeria. The significant increase in the share of external debt in total debt in the past two years warrants caution. The recent debt reprofiling operation and the Eurobond issuance have contributed to lowering borrowing costs, diversifying the financing structure, and extending debt maturity. However, these operations can also generate new vulnerabilities that will need to be mitigated through an enhanced debt management strategy and continued capacity improvements at the debt management office.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Niger faces daunting development challenges, aggravated by terrorist incursions, low uranium export prices, and climate change. Nonetheless, GDP grew by a respectable 5 percent in the past two years. It should average 7 percent over the next five years thanks to reforms, substantial donor support, several large-scale projects, and a one-time boost from the projected commencement of crude oil exports in 2022.