This 2004 Article IV Consultation highlights that economic growth in South Africa slowed in 2003 to 1.9 percent, from 3.6 percent in 2002, despite strong domestic demand. Fuelled by low interest rates, a more expansionary fiscal stance, and the wealth effects from strong commodity and property price increases, domestic expenditures rose strongly in 2003. Developments in 2004 point to a rebound in growth. Real GDP grew by 3.9 percent in the second quarter and a range of indicators, such as retail sales and consumer and business confidence measures, point to an acceleration in activity.
The Kingdom of Lesotho’s 2005 Article IV Consultation reports that the government’s fiscal position and the external current account have improved markedly. The authorities are preparing an action plan, in collaboration with development partners, to improve the business climate. Critical measures aim to increase labor productivity through training, reduce domestic costs for the private sector by addressing infrastructure bottlenecks, remove regulatory and administrative impediments, improve access to financial services, and promote product and export market diversification.
In 2003, Guinea's macroeconomic management deteriorated significantly, and the prospects for 2003 are uncertain at best. Performance under the 2002–03 poverty reduction and growth facility (PRGF)-supported program is weak. The main challenge is to promote and sustain the strong private sector-led growth that is necessary to achieve the poverty reduction objectives set out in the poverty reduction strategy paper (PRSP). IMF staff urged the authorities to adopt appropriate fiscal and monetary policies and step up the implementation of structural reforms.
Economic growth in Swaziland has weakened over the past decade. This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that real GDP growth decelerated to 2.1 percent in 2004 and an estimated 1.8 percent in 2005. A prolonged drought affected agricultural output, particularly maize, the main staple crop, and cotton. The authorities completed a “Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan” in October 2004. The document spells out policies with the overall objective of halving the 1995 poverty rate by 2015. However, little progress has been made toward this and other Millennium Development Goals.
This paper examines Lesotho’s Sixth Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and Request for Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria. Real GDP growth slowed to 3¼ percent in 2003/04 (April-March) owing to the adverse impact of drought on agricultural output and slower-than-envisaged growth in the construction sector. Fiscal performance in 2003/04 was stronger than envisaged in the program, partly reflecting temporary factors. All quantitative performance criteria for December 2003 and indicative targets for March 2004 were met. The IMF staff supports the key macroeconomic objectives of the authorities’ budget for 2004/05.
This 2006 Article IV Consultation highlights that Swaziland’s economic performance has remained weak with growth averaging only 2 percent since 2000, owing to a substantial real appreciation of the lilangeni during 2002–04, erosion of trade preferences, recurrent drought, and stagnant investment. Over that same period, rising government expenditures, especially on the wage bill, undermined fiscal sustainability and reduced foreign reserves to critically low levels. Poverty has escalated in the face of high and rising unemployment, food shortages, and the world’s highest HIV/AIDS infection rate.
South Africa showed strong macroeconomic performance owing to its sound policies, which aimed at raising economic growth and reducing poverty, within a stable macroeconomic, social, and political environment. Executive Directors commended the strong economic performance, sustainable fiscal policies, and sound debt management that helped to reduce public debt. They appreciated the authorities' efforts on addressing major economic and social challenges while preserving macroeconomic stability. They agreed that the flexible exchange-rate system and sound financial system has helped the country to sustain economic growth.
This 2002 Article IV Consultation highlights that real GDP growth of Botswana slipped to an estimated 1¼ percent in 2001/02 (July–June), largely reflecting a downturn in the global diamond market and a drop in Botswana’s diamond production. The non-mining sectors performed better, especially the service industries. Their success is in part a product of Botswana’s market-friendly environment, sound macroeconomic policies, and investments in education and physical infrastructure. The overall fiscal balance moved into deficit in 2001/02 (April–March), only the second deficit in 20 years.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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