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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYGuinea is suffering from an outbreak of Ebola, which has become a humanitarian crisis with a significant economic impact. Preliminary estimates suggest a negative impact on 2014 growth, which will be markedly lower. Government revenue is showing a substantial shortfall and the response to the Ebola outbreak entails additional critical spending needs. The exchange rate has started to depreciate. The authorities intend to adopt a tighter monetary policy to address the transitory balance of payments shock.Performance under the ECF-supported program has remained satisfactory. Preliminary data indicate that all performance criteria (PCs) under the program for end-June 2014 were met. There has also been further progress with structural reform.The authorities have requested additional IMF financial assistance to meet urgent fiscal and balance of payments needs not anticipated at the time of the recent program review. Such assistance cannot be provided in the form of an augmentation of access under the ECF arrangement at this time since a review associated with the most recent availability date has not yet been completed because of delays in program implementation associated with the 2013 parliamentary elections. The authorities have requested a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) because the urgent balance of payments need is characterized by a financing gap that, if not addressed, would result in an immediate and severe economic disruption. Moreover, Guinea�s balance of payments difficulties are caused primarily by a sudden exogenous shock and not by a withdrawal of financial support by donors, and its balance of payments need is expected to be resolved within one year with no major policy adjustments being necessary. As such polices remain guided by the objectives of the ECF-supported program.Staff supports the authorities� request for a disbursement under the RCF of25 percent of quota (SDR 26.775 million). It also supports the authorities� request for a modification of the end-September indicative targets and end-December 2014 PCs underthe ECF arrangement, including program adjustors.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This paper discusses Guinea’s Second Review Under the Three-Year Arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility, Requests for Modifications of Performance Criteria and Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criterion, and Financing Assurances. Growth is projected at 4.5 percent for 2013, slightly lower than envisaged because of lower growth in the mining sector. The programs inflation target has been revised upward slightly, mainly reflecting the higher than programmed outcome at end-2012, together with some modest impact from an agreement on increases in civil service wages. Key risks include continued political unrest in the run-up to elections, which could affect growth, investment, and reform momentum, and a rebound in inflation if the private sector follows the increase in civil service wages.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Guinea’s Third Review under the Three-Year Arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and Financing Assurances Review. The macroeconomic environment in Guinea in 2013 was difficult, reflecting the fragile sociopolitical situation and a sharp slowdown in mining sector projects. As a result, growth is estimated to have slowed to 2.5 percent, sharply below the projected 4.5 percent. Inflation continued to fall and at the end of 2013 was 10.5 percent year over year. International reserves were maintained at a satisfactory level, and the exchange rate remained broadly stable. Performance under the ECF-supported program remains satisfactory. The IMF staff supports the completion of the third review under the ECF arrangement and completion of the financing assurances review.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
KEY ISSUES Context. Mauritania’s economy has benefited from macroeconomic stability and high growth in the context of contained inflation, responsible macro-policies, high iron ore prices and scaled-up public investment. However, economic growth has not translated into broadly improved living standards and is being hit by a sharp decline in iron ore prices. Outlook and Risks. Although the outlook remains favorable, it hinges heavily on stabilizing iron ore prices and expanding mining capacity. Downside risks to the outlook dominate because iron ore prices may decline further in response to excess supply in the global market. Key Policy Recommendations. With high risk of debt distress and deteriorating terms of trade, Mauritania’s fiscal policy needs to remain focused on consolidation to support fiscal sustainability. Over the medium term, a fiscal framework with a full-fledged fiscal rule will help prevent the boom–bust cycles that ensue from volatility in natural resource revenue, and with strengthened governance in managing mining wealth. The central bank should take advantage of the low-inflation environment to strengthen monetary policy formulation, gradually liberalize the foreign exchange market, and introduce liquidity support and banking resolution frameworks. The implementation of the recent FSAP recommendations should be pursued to enhance the stability of the financial sector stability. Economic diversification and inclusive growth are the foremost medium-term challenges. The authorities should accelerate structural reforms needed to raise Mauritania’s potential growth, create jobs, and improve living standards for all Mauritanians. Article VIII. A comprehensive analysis of the foreign exchange market identified exchange restrictions and multiple currency practices (MCPs) subject to Fund approval under Article VIII. Effective November 20, 2013, the exchange rate regime is classified as “stabilized” arrangement.
International Monetary Fund. Asia and Pacific Dept

Against the backdrop of generally sound policies and abundant natural resources, Lao P.D.R. has made impressive progress in developing its economy and reducing poverty. The key challenge going forward is to ensure that economic policy frameworks stay ahead of the curve to achieve sustainable and broad-based growth.