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Mr. Antonio Spilimbergo

Research summaries on (1) globalization and macroeconomic volatility (by M. Ayhan Kose), and (2) international financial integration and domestic financial systems (by Thierry Tressel); country study on Germany (by Stephan Danninger); book summary of China and India--Learning from Each Other; listing of contents of Vol. 54, Issue No. 1 of IMF Staff Papers; listing of recent external publications by IMF staff; listing of recent IMF Working Papers; and listing of visiting scholars at the IMF during September 2006-April 2007

Olivier Basdevant, Patrick A. Imam, Mr. Tidiane Kinda, and Ms. Aleksandra Zdzienicka
West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) countries face a well-known dilemma between the need to provide shock-smoothing mechanisms and the lack of adequate mechanisms to do so. WAEMU countries are subject to frequent and, to a large extent, asymmetric shocks. They have remained poorly diversified and vulnerable to external shocks, such as changing weather conditions. In addition to limited shock-smoothing mechanisms at the regional level, WAEMU members’ ability to respond to shocks through national policies is also constrained by limited fiscal space and the need to preserve external stability—not only at the national level but also at the union level. In this context, developing a well-defined fiscal rule framework at the national level would help to build the necessary fiscal space for shock-smoothing. In addition, the development of specific shock-smoothing mechanisms—including a more developed and integrated financial sector—would also be critical. In addition, promoting financial development is also a challenge, which needs to be addressed in tandem with an adequate surveillance system. Some of these challenges have been faced by other monetary unions, such as the euro area.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper examines common policies supporting reform programs in member countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Economic activity in WAEMU has remained strong but vulnerabilities have increased. Real GDP growth is estimated to have reached 6.2 percent in 2016, underpinned by robust and resilient domestic demand. Inflation remained subdued, at about 0.4 percent on average in 2016 owing to continued solid agricultural production and low oil prices. Preliminary data suggest an overall fiscal deficit of 4.5 percent of GDP in 2016, higher than initially planned. The outlook remains positive provided there is continued macroeconomic stability and resolve to improve the business environment and promote private investment.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses recent economic developments, outlook, and risks of West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Despite the fragile security situation in some member countries and a less favorable external environment in 2015, economic growth exceeded 6 percent for the second consecutive year, driven by ongoing infrastructure investments, solid private consumption, and favorable agricultural campaigns. This paper also discusses how timely and effective implementation of the planned policies is required at the national level to maintain the growth momentum while preserving external stability and debt sustainability and to enact the planned regulatory reforms and improve further supervisory processes and the enforcement of existing prudential norms.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This regional consultation IMF staff report for West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) highlights that growth remained strong in 2018, the fiscal deficit narrowed by 1/2 percentage point of GDP, external reserves increased, and important banking reforms were put in place, including the introduction of Basel II/III standards. The medium-term outlook remains positive despite somewhat less favorable global conditions, but critically hinges on planned fiscal consolidation and structural reforms to improve competitiveness and allow the private sector to become the main engine of growth. Other risks relate to terms-of-trade and weather shocks, and a difficult security situation in some countries. The report also discusses that collectively adhering to fiscal consolidation commitments, with a greater focus on domestic revenue mobilization and more effective control of below-the-line operations, is essential to lower risks of public debt distress, support international reserves, and preserve external viability. Structural policies aimed at improving competitiveness and growth inclusiveness are critical to reducing vulnerabilities to external shocks, building external buffers, stimulating private-sector-led growth, and making the growth momentum sustainable.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Niger’s 2019 Article IV Consultation, Fourth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), and Requests for Waiver of Nonobservance of a Performance Criterion, Modification of Performance Criteria, and Extension and Rephasing of the ECF Arrangement. Program implementation has been broadly satisfactory with public finances strengthening as planned, progress with the implementation of the structural reform agenda, and some slippages in the clearance in domestic payment arrears. Improving public finances, mobilizing revenues, and improving spending quality remain high on the agenda. The Article IV consultation focused on ways to jump-start Niger’s still embryonic local formal private sector and how to best foster good governance. Economic growth strengthened in 2018 and the outlook is promising thanks to the start of several large-scale projects by private investors and development partners. The review highlights that the formal local private sector needs strengthening to ensure sustainably higher living standards and provide jobs for Niger’s rapidly growing labor force.
International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper underlies the financial sector developments in Niger. The paper presents an overview of the financial sector of Niger and discusses the recent banking developments. It analyzes the recent trends in key microfinance indicators, and investigates reasons behind Niger’s relatively weak growth performance. It uses a growth accounting framework to assess the contribution to growth by factor inputs and total factor productivity (TFP) during 1963–2003. The paper also presents neoclassical growth model estimates of the role of macroeconomic variables and other factors in determining economic growth in Niger.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Niger faces daunting development challenges, aggravated by terrorist incursions, low uranium export prices, and climate change. Nonetheless, GDP grew by a respectable 5 percent in the past two years. It should average 7 percent over the next five years thanks to reforms, substantial donor support, several large-scale projects, and a one-time boost from the projected commencement of crude oil exports in 2022.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Niger faces daunting development challenges, aggravated by terrorist incursions, low uranium export prices, and climate change. Nonetheless, GDP growth picked up to 6.5 percent last year- and should average above 7 percent over the next five years thanks to reforms, substantial donor support, several large-scale projects, and a one-time boost from the projected commencement of crude oil exports in 2022.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
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.