International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
At the African Union summit in Maputo, Mozambique, in July and the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in Dubai in late September, African leaders underscored their commitment to sound policies and good governance but expressed strong frustration with donor countries’ slowness in keeping up their end of the bargain. Abdoulaye Bio-Tchané, who has headed the IMF’s African Department for the past two years after serving as Benin’s Minister of Finance and Economy, talks with Laura Wallace about what he sees as the biggest stumbling blocks to ensuring a better future for the African continent.
This paper focuses on overcoming the challenges of globalization. The paper highlights that globalization has the potential to make all individuals better off. However, there is no assurance that all individuals will be better off or that all changes will be positive. The studies that show that, on average, poverty declines with economic growth are encouraging. But averages hide the negative impact on individual countries and on certain groups. In addition, there are important questions about the relationships between economic policies and outcomes, especially the impact of macroeconomic and structural reform policies on poverty.
KEY ISSUES Context. The region continued to experience strong growth in 2014, led by the continued economic expansion in Cote d’Ivoire. The outlook is for further strong growth, subject to a range of downward risks, in particular political instability ahead of upcoming elections in several countries, and security issues in Mali and Niger. With an elevated fiscal deficit exerting pressure on the balance of payments and the regional financial market, delays in fiscal consolidation or structural reforms pose the main medium-term risks. Policy recommendations: • Fiscal consolidation. Safeguarding external stability in the region will require governments to adhere to their budget deficit reduction plans while maintaining public investment efforts, which will require increasing tax revenue and controlling current expenditure. • Monetary policy. Macroeconomic conditions do not warrant a tightening of monetary policy at this juncture. However, if fiscal deficits do not decline as envisaged, the BCEAO should consider increasing its policy rates. In the mean time, the BCEAO should very closely follow the evolution of the macro-prudential risks flowing from its sharp increase in commercial bank refinancing. • Financial stability. The WAEMU authorities should enforce existing prudential rules and raise standards to international best practice. Ongoing reforms go in the right direction but need to be accelerated. • Structural transformation and regional integration. Policies to promote structural transformation should focus on addressing weaknesses, such as the lack of education and training, finance, and supportive regulatory environments. Countries should refrain from using the possibility to deviate from the common external tariff of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in force since January 1, 2015, in order to protect the gains from regional integration in WAEMU.
In recent years, the IMF has released a growing number of reports and other documents covering economic and financial developments and trends in member countries. Each report, prepared by a staff team after discussions with government officials, is published at the option of the member country.
This paper discusses key findings of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) for Côte d’Ivoire. The paper reveals that poverty is more acute in rural areas than in urban areas of Côte d’Ivoire. The increase of poverty is greater in the city of Abidjan, with about a 50 percent increase, compared with other towns where the rate of increase is slightly below 20 percent. As at the national level, poverty increased considerably at the level of development poles (regions) and differed from one pole to the other.
Ms. Keiko Honjo, Marijn Verhoeven, and Mr. Sanjeev Gupta
This paper assesses the efficiency of government expenditure on education and health in 38 countries in Africa in 1984-95, both in relation to each other and compared with countries in Asia and the Western Hemisphere. The results show that, on average, countries in Africa are less efficient than countries in Asia and the Western Hemisphere; however, education and health spending in Africa became more efficient during that period. The assessment further suggests that improvements in educational attainment and health output in African countries require more than just higher budgetary allocations.
Dorothy Engmann, Mr. Ousmane Dore, and Benoít Anne
This paper evaluates the impact of the sociopolitical crisis in Côte d'Ivoire on the economies of its neighbors. Using a nonsubjective weighted index of regional instability in cross-country time-series regressions, it shows that the increase in regional instability caused by domestic instability in Côte d'Ivoire had a negative effect on the growth performance of its most direct neighbors, but no significant effect on the subregion as a whole including the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). The paper also examines the channels through which such spillover effects took place.
Ms. Anja Baum, Andrew Hodge, Ms. Aiko Mineshima, Ms. Marialuz Moreno Badia, and Rene Tapsoba
According to U.N. estimates, low-income countries will have to increase their annual public
spending by up to 30 percent of GDP to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),
raising the question of whether they can do it all. This paper develops a new metric of fiscal
space in low-income countries that accounts for macroeconomic uncertainty, allowing us to
assess whether those spending needs can be accommodated. Illustrative simulations based on
this methodology imply that, even under benign conditions, the fiscal space available in lowincome
countries is likely insufficient to undertake the spending needed to achieve the SDGs.
Improving public investment efficiency and domestic revenue mobilization can somewhat
narrow the gap but it will require major efforts relative to recent trends.
This document updates the information provided in the September 2005 Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative – Status of Implementation report. It deals exclusively with the enhanced HIPC Initiative, and does not consider the implications of the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI).
In direct response to the COVID-19 crisis the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) Executive Board has adopted some immediate enhancements to its Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to enable the Fund to
provide debt service relief for its poorest and most vulnerable members. The CCRT enables the IMF to deliver grants for debt relief benefiting eligible low-income countries in the wake of catastrophic natural disasters and major, fast-spreading public health emergencies.