International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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Benin has made significant progress in consolidating macroeconomic stability under the IMF-supported program. Its prudent fiscal policy has kept fiscal deficits at manageable levels and is projected to yield a basic primary surplus in 2012. The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggested that the authorities hold current expenditures to provide space for infrastructure spending and meet medium-term fiscal objectives. Benin’s authorities are committed to maintain sound macroeconomic policies, pursue the implementation of critical structural reforms, and take further measure to achieve program objectives.
Benin’s Fifth Review under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility and request for waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria are discussed. The main challenge ahead is to limit inflation pressures from higher food and fuel prices while sustaining medium-term fiscal consolidation and accelerating structural reforms to increase the sustainable growth rate. The authorities have taken actions to address the food and fuel crisis and accelerate structural reforms. They have allowed the full pass-through of higher international food and fuel prices and tightened fiscal policy while putting in place measures to protect the poor.
Performance under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) program has been mixed. The revenue slippage was addressed partially with corrective actions. IMF staff supports the authorities' request for a waiver of a missed performance criterion and recommends the completion of the first review. The collapse of a number of unauthorized microfinance institutions has not had a measurable impact on the financial sector. Ex post assessment of performance under the 2005–09 poverty reduction and growth facility program highlighted progress in macroeconomic stabilization but weaknesses in growth performance.
Despite severe economic, political, and natural setbacks in Benin in 2010, its economic growth has accelerated in 2011. The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has appreciated Benin’s economic performance under the program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). Based on the satisfactory performance and strong policy commitments, the Executive Board has granted a waiver for Benin. Directors have emphasized that a prudent fiscal policy is essential to preserve macroeconomic stability.
The goal of the last ECF arrangement (2005–09) was to support Benin’s strategy to achieve higher sustainable growth and reduce poverty while preserving macroeconomic stability and reducing vulnerabilities to external shocks. The program achieved most of its objectives. The main macroeconomic challenge ahead is to mitigate the impact of the crisis in the short term, while reaching higher sustainable growth over the medium term. The government’s economic program is geared properly to pursue these objectives. The structural reform agenda is appropriately ambitious.
This 2015 Article IV Consultation highlights that for the third consecutive year, Benin is expected to reach solid economic growth in 2015 at about 5 percent, despite recent headwinds from the economic slowdown in Nigeria-Benin's major trading partner. In 2016, increased public investment is expected to keep real GDP growth at about 5.2 percent, with inflation to remain subdued. The medium-term outlook is also positive overall, but subject to significant risks, including a further slowdown in Nigeria and delays of structural reforms that could weaken growth dynamics. Low debt levels help accommodate the government's ambitious plans to further scale-up investment over the medium term.
2017 Article IV Consultation and First Review Under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement and Request for Modifications of Performance Criteria-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Benin
2019 Article IV Consultation, Fourth Review under the Extended Credit Facility Arrangement, and Request for Modification of Performance Criteria-Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director for Benin