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International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
This 2021 Article IV Consultation determines that Kosovo’s people and its economy experienced a return to a certain degree of normality in 2021. Increased vaccination rates allowed a relaxation of stringency measures, supported mobility, and created the conditions for a resumption of diaspora travel. The fiscal response to the pandemic has been broadly adequate. Moreover, fiscal policy needs to return to a supportive stance in 2022. Focus, composition, and transparency of public spending needs strengthening including supporting economic resilience. While the objective to intensify vaccinations is both appropriate and commendable, intended policy actions under the “Economic Revival Program” need to be better defined, new social transfer programs should be more targeted, and the growth of existing transfers needs to be contained. Kosovo’s intentions to reduce carbon emissions are commendable. A credible climate and environment mitigation strategy should be centered around carbon pricing, while allocating its proceeds to investment in green projects and to mitigate the impact of higher energy prices on vulnerable households.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper presents Central African Republic’s (CAR) 2023 Article IV Consultation and Request for a 38-Month Arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The ECF-supported program will help meet CAR’s protracted balance of payments needs, sustain priority spending on basic public services in health and education, and provide a policy framework to advance key reforms. The program is part of a coordinated effort by international financial institutions that aims to support the people of CAR and avert a humanitarian crisis. The program contains important governance safeguards for the use of IMF resources. Continued financial and technical support from development partners remains critical to the program’s success. Given its high risk of debt distress and limited revenue base, CAR will have to continue its effort to mobilize grants to finance its economic needs. Close cooperation with international partners on humanitarian assistance is also essential for supporting the population. CAR’s economic program will continue to be supported by the implementation of policies and reforms agreed among the Central African Economic and Monetary Community regional institutions, which notably aim at supporting an increase in regional net foreign assets and which are ultimately critical to program’s success.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
CAR is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis with acute food insecurity and access to health care drastically impaired. Social tensions have ratcheted up, including strikes in various sectors, on the back of a cost-of-living crisis triggered by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Political tensions have also escalated from the President’s plans of a third mandate requiring revisions to the constitution. The 2021 suspension of budget support—which deprived the government of 5 percent of GDP in financing—is now constraining, following the erosion of buffers, including the 2021 SDR allocation. The protracted balance of payment need is preventing the authorities from delivering basic public services to an already afflicted population. Against this backdrop, the authorities have requested Fund financing assistance.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
Recent developments, outlook, and risks. Kosovo’s economy has continued to perform well, despite a challenging external environment. Real GDP growth moderated to 3¼ percent in 2023 amid subdued external demand. Inflation has decelerated sharply, reaching 2 percent y/y in the first quarter of 2024. Growth is projected to accelerate to 3¾ percent in 2024, driven by domestic demand. Key risks to the outlook include commodity price spikes due to geopolitical tensions, weaker activity in advanced European economies, and an escalation of tensions in northern Kosovo.