Pre-pandemic, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s (BiH) economy was growing, but at a pace below the more successful countries in Eastern Europe. The pandemic generated a substantial output contraction in 2020. Early in the pandemic, the authorities successfully implemented restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus and took measures to support firms and households. However, the ongoing second wave poses additional challenges. A gradual recovery is expected for the second half of 2021. Political disagreements about policy coordination at the BiH State level have hampered program implementation under the 2016 EFF arrangement and the deepening of the single economic space. The challenge is to deal with the pandemic and put the economy on a higher medium-term growth trajectory.
Kosovo has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite policy support, economic activity is estimated to have fallen 6 percent in 2020 on account of the combined effect of strict domestic containment measures and international travel restrictions. The fiscal deficit increased to 7.7 percent of GDP, given the large fall in tax revenues and the implementation of mitigation and recovery measures of 4.2 percent of GDP. The current account deficit is estimated to have increased to 7.5 percent of GDP mainly due to a large decline in diaspora-related inflows, most notably in tourism. Gross international reserves declined but remain adequate in part due to the purchase under the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) in April 2020 and the use of other external financing. Banks have weathered the recession well to date, and the high pre-COVID19 liquidity levels and ample capital buffers bode well for the system’s stability.
Mr. Adolfo Barajas, Thorsten Beck, Mohammed Belhaj, and Mr. Sami Ben Naceur
The past two decades have seen a rapid increase in interest in financial inclusion, both from policymakers and researchers. This paper surveys the main findings from the literature, documenting the trends over time and gaps that have arisen across regions, income levels, and gender, among others. It points out that structural, as well as policy-related, factors, such as encouraging banking competition or channeling government payments through bank accounts, play an important role, and describes the potential macro and microeconomic benefits that can be derived from greater financial inclusion. It argues that policy should aim to identify and reduce frictions holding back financial inclusion, rather than targeting specific levels of inclusion. Finally, it suggests areas for future research.
Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, Mr. Larry Q Cui, Silvia Domit, Jingzhou Meng, Mr. Slavi T Slavov, Mrs. Nujin Suphaphiphat, and Hanqi Zhang
This departmental paper investigates how countries in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe (CESEE) can improve fiscal transparency, thereby raising government efficiency and reducing corruption vulnerabilities.
This paper on Bosnia and Herzegovina presents the report on the government finance statistics technical assistance mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Further on developing reconciliation processes, the mission provisionally finalized research to establish reconciliation procedures, without fully eliminating statistical discrepancies. On the compiling of nonbudgetary public sector units, the mission continued the development of compilation processes as started during the May 2018 mission. Considering the differences in outcomes on balance sheet transactions between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ compilation process, further research is required to test the plausibility of these compilation processes and outcomes. The mission will liaise with IMF’s European Department on an appropriate implementation procedure in coordination with other reporting units in Bosnia and Herzegovina that are also revising fiscal surveillance to the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2014 framework. The mission succeeded in resolving statistical discrepancies—at least from accounting technical point of view.