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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Despite a more favorable external environment, marked by the rebound in global growth, fast-increasing oil prices, and unprecedented Fund financial support, CEMAC is ending 2021 in a fragile external position. Net external reserves fell throughout 2021 to reach their lowest level in decades, and gross reserves are just above three months of imports of goods and services. The launch of a second phase of the regional strategy at the August 2021 CEMAC Heads of States summit saw renewed commitments to accelerate structural, transparency, and governance reforms. The resumption of program engagements with the Fund, combined with high oil prices and significant fiscal adjustments in 2022, should allow for a turnaround, and the build-up in external reserves is expected to resume in 2022. Risks include possible adverse pandemic developments, oil price volatility, possible fiscal slippages, shortfall in external financing, and security issues.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The Gabonese economy was gradually recovering from the 2014 oil price shock when it was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Decisive confinement measures have helped save lives, but the pandemic and the fall in oil prices have severely hit the economy, increasing unemployment and poverty. With a weak economy and increased COVID-19 related spending, the fiscal deficit has widened, with a sharp increase in public debt. Emergency financing from the IMF through the Rapid Financing Instrument (US$299.61 million) helped meet urgent balance of payment needs in 2020. Growth is expected to resume in 2021 but the pandemic has made the economic outlook very challenging and generated sizable financing needs over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The Gabonese economy was gradually recovering from the 2014 oil price shock when it was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Decisive confinement measures have helped save lives, but the pandemic and the fall in oil prices have severely hit the economy, increasing unemployment and poverty. With a weak economy and increased COVID-19 related spending, the fiscal deficit has widened, with a sharp increase in public debt. Emergency financing from the IMF through the Rapid Financing Instrument (US$299.61 million) helped meet urgent balance of payment needs in 2020. Growth is expected to resume in 2021 but the pandemic has made the economic outlook very challenging and generated sizable financing needs over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Context and risks. The pandemic may have a long-lasting impact on CEMAC’s growth potential, which is already curtailed by structural, governance, and transparency issues. The policy response from national and regional authorities in 2020 helped mitigate the economic fallout. CEMAC, however, experienced a severe recession in 2020, fiscal and external deficits increased, and public debt rose with some countries having debt sustainability issues. The region is facing an increasing dilemma between internal and external stability, as external reserves fell sharply between mid-2020 and March 2021. A moderate recovery in economic growth is expected from 2021. Supported by lower than previously projected total external financing of €4.8 billion over 2021–23, international reserves build-up would be slower than pre-pandemic. This outlook is highly uncertain and contingent on the evolution of the pandemic and the vaccination program. Other significant risks include delayed implementation of the ongoing or possible new Fund-supported programs, uncertainties in filling large external financing needs, oil prices, and a possible deterioration in the security situation.