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Patrick A. Imam and Ms. Christina Kolerus
The financial system in the WAEMU remains largely bank-based. The banking sector comprises 106 banks and 13 financial institutions, which together hold more than 90 percent of the financial system’s assets (about 54 percent of GDP at end-2011). Five banks account for 50 percent of banking assets. The ownership structure of the sector is changing fast, with the rapid rise of foreign-owned (pan-African) banks. This contributes to higher competition but also rising heterogeneity in the banking system, with large and profitable cross-country groups competing with often weaker country-based (and sometime government-owned) banks. Nonbank financial institutions are developing quickly, notably insurance companies, but remain overall small. This paper presents a detailed analysis of the banking system.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
Crisis Stalls Globalization: Reshaping the World Economy" examines the multiple facets of the recession-from the impact on individual economies to the effect on the global payments imbalances that were partially at the root of the crisis-and offers a variety of suggestions for supporting a recovery and averting future crises. Several IMF studies shed light on the depth of the crisis-including a survey of the sharp drop in trade finance, along with quantitative findings about the direct and indirect costs of the financial turbulence-and debate what is to be done from several angles, including the redesign of the regulatory framework and ways to plug large data gaps to prevent future crises and aid in the creation of early warning systems. Opinion pieces discuss the shifting boundaries between the state and markets, the agenda for financial sector reform, and the governance of global financial markets. The issue also includes a historical perspective to see when restructuring the global financial architecture actually succeeds. "People in Economics" profiles Nouriel Roubini; "Back to Basics" looks at what makes a recession; and "Data Spotlight" examines Latin America's debt.
Mr. Piero Ugolini and Mr. Bernard J Laurens

The progress of 32 sub-Saharan African countries, from independence through December 1997, in liberalizing their financial sectors is the subject of IMF Occasional Paper 169, Financial Sector Development in Sub-Saharan African Countries, published in September 1998 (see IMF Survey, November 16, 1998, page 365). The paper also recommended how these countries could sustain and accelerate the modernization that is under way in many of them. Since the release of the Occasional Paper, the countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) (Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo) have implemented a number of measures that modify the overall picture of financial sector development.

International Monetary Fund

Economic recovery has gained momentum, and short-term prospects have improved. Program implementation is good. Fiscal consolidation is essential for Burkina Faso’s macroeconomic stability and debt sustainability. Structural reforms remain focused on a few priority areas supporting growth and macroeconomic stability. Terms-of-trade and weather-related shocks are the main risks to the economic outlook. Executive Directors commend the government for their commitment to sound policies and encourage them to proceed with the reform agenda. The government also needs to sustain revenue mobilization to improve fiscal sustainability.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper presents stylized facts on the quantitative and qualitative infrastructure gap in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), estimates the efficiency of public investment, and recommends how to improve it. The WAEMU countries face an important common challenge of creating sufficient fiscal space to finance ambitious growth, development, and poverty-reduction programs in individual countries. This paper also provides comparative evidence of the situation of WAEMU in several areas of financial development relative to groups of benchmark countries. The state of inclusion in the WAEMU along three dimensions—poverty, income inequality, and gender inequality—is also examined in this paper.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Military coups that occurred in Guinea-Bissau and Mali caused economic disruption in the WAEMU countries. Regional policies have been in line with the recommendations, and growth is expected to remain robust, risks are on the downside, and the macroeconomic policy is appropriate. Preserving debt sustainability and stability of the Union in the medium term requires better coordination of fiscal policies. Development of the financial system, and strengthening of the regulatory and supervisory framework is necessary to address existing and new risks.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This Selected Issues paper examines Burkina Faso’s banking system and traces its macro-financial linkages. The analysis builds upon the macro-financial linkages work conducted in the context of the Article IV consultation with the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Overall, the banking system remains profitable and well-capitalized, but its ability to support the real economy needs to be improved if the authorities are to reach their development goals. Moreover, financial inclusion remains low, and despite recent progress on basic access to the financial system, significant barriers to accessing credit remain; particularly for women, rural inhabitants, and the agricultural sector. The available data indicates that the banking system remains well-capitalized and profitable. Systemic risks remain broadly contained, and new banks have come into operation, but there is significant scope to improve the banking system’s ability to support the real economy and financial inclusion. Deteriorating security conditions could undermine banks’ ability to expand into underserved remote areas.