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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. African Dept.
This paper assesses and disseminates experiences and lessons from low-income countries (LICs) in Sub-Saharan Africa that were selected by the Africa Department in 2015-16 as pilots for enhanced analysis of macro-financial linkages in Article IV staff reports. The paper focuses on the common characteristics across the pilot countries and highlights the tools used in the analysis, the challenges encountered, and the solutions deployed in overcoming them.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

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

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. External Relations Dept.

Mark Allen, a U.K. national, took over the reins as Director of the IMF’s Policy Development and Review (PDR) Department in December 2003. After joining the IMF in 1974, he gained experience with member countries worldwide, serving chiefly in PDR (and its earlier incarnations), but also doing stints in the African Department and as Senior Resident Representative in Poland and Hungary. Laura Wallace spoke with him about the IMF’s efforts to inject more stability into the global economy by better staving off financial crises and resolving those that do occur more quickly and less painfully.