After almost a decade of strong growth, the WAEMU region is facing severe challenges from a triple crisis impacting the health, economic and security situations. Both fiscal and monetary policies were relaxed significantly in 2020 to contain the pandemic and support the economy. A gradual fiscal consolidation is expected to start in 2021 and bring back the aggregate fiscal deficit towards the 3 percent of GDP regional ceiling within three years. Growth is expected to recover swiftly in 2021–22 to pre-crisis levels, but the economic outlook is still uncertain.
A technical assistance (TA) mission led by Mr. Fahd Ndiaye, Resident Adviser in Real Sector Statistics for AFRITAC West, visited Lomé from January 27 to 31, 2020, to assess the national accounts for the new base year 2016 with the National Institute of Statistics and Economic and Demographic Studies. (INSEED). These accounts were prepared in accordance with the System of National Accounts 2008 (2008 SNA). The proceedings took the form of a workshop with representatives of the World Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Development Bank (AfDB),the Statistical and Economic Observatory of Sub-Saharan Africa (AFRISTAT), the Commission of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). This report is largely based on the aide-memoire signed with the country and partners.
This paper discusses Togo’s Sixth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement and Request for Augmentation for Access. Togo’s performance under the ECF-supported program has been broadly satisfactory. While the economic recovery was firming up, it has recently been hindered by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. The macroeconomic outlook is subject to a high degree of uncertainty. Structural reforms are progressing on revenue administration and public financial management. Progress has been made on collection of tax arrears, online submission of customs declarations, and steps toward program-based budgeting. It will be important to implement recommendations from a recent Tax Administration Diagnostic Assessment Tool, address remaining deficiencies in essential customs functions, and bolster voluntary compliance to ensure strong permanent revenue. Togo is amongst the best performers in the improvement of the business environment in recent years. It will be important to pursue such reforms, including strengthening governance, and to implement the measures outlined in the National Development Plan to support strong and inclusive growth. Completing the delayed reforms of the two state-owned banks is paramount to safeguarding financial stability and preventing risks to the state budget.
The economic recovery seems to be taking hold. Inflation stood at 0.6 percent at
end-July 2019. The fiscal consolidation was sustained through the first half of 2019; the
overall fiscal deficit is estimated at 0.2 percent of GDP at end-June 2019. Reforms are
progressing on revenue and customs administration as well as public expenditure
management. While the authorities are committed to privatize the two public banks, the
tenders for both banks were launched with a delay in September 2019 (prior action).
Socio-political tensions have abated but uncertainty remains high, particularly considering
the presidential election scheduled for 2020.
Economic activity has been recovering, driven by robust performance in the export and agricultural sectors. Fiscal consolidation efforts have continued; Togo complied with the WAEMU deficit convergence criteria in 2017 and 2018, two years ahead of the timeline agreed by member states; public debt declined from 81 percent of GDP at end-2016 to 76 percent of GDP at end-2018. Inflation stood at 2 percent in March 2019 (y-o-y). The external position has improved. The privatization process for the first public bank encountered delays.
This Selected Issues paper reviews West African Economic and Monetary Union’s (WAEMU) regional macroeconomic surveillance framework to control all sources of debt accumulation and ensure debt sustainability. WAEMU’s regional surveillance framework aims at ensuring the sustainability of national fiscal policies and their consistency with the common monetary policy. While fiscal deficits have been the main driver of public debt across WAEMU member countries, the size of residual factors has varied greatly among these countries. The WAEMU Macroeconomic Surveillance Framework would benefit from adjustments to more effectively set the region’s public debt on a sustainable path. In addition, beyond adhering to the WAEMU fiscal deficit rule, member countries must curb below-the-budget-line operations. This would require improved monitoring of fiscal risks and the building of adequate budget provisions to address such risks before they materialize. Improved Treasury practices would also help eliminate the recourse to pre-financing arrangements and tighten control over expenditure. Public dissemination of the WAEMU progress report and strengthened peer-to-peer learning among member countries could improve the momentum for reforms.
Daniel Gurara, Mr. Giovanni Melina, and Luis-Felipe Zanna
Over the past seven years, the DIG and DIGNAR models have complemented the IMF and World Bank debt sustainability framework (DSF) analysis, over 65 country applications. They have provided useful insights in the context of program and surveillance work, based on qualitative and quantitative analysis of the macroeconomic effects of public investment scaling-ups. This paper takes stock of the model applications and extensions, and extract five common policy lessons from the universe of country cases. First, improving public investment efficiency and/or raising the rate of return of public projects raises growth and lowers the risks associated with debt sustainability. Second, prudent and gradual investment scaling-ups are preferable to aggressive front-loaded ones, in terms of private sector crowding-out effects, absorptive capacity constraints, and debt sustainability risks. Third, domestic revenue mobilization helps create fiscal space for investment scaling-ups, by effectively containing public debt surges and their later-on repayments. Fourth, aid smoothens fiscal adjustments associated with public investment increases and may lower the risks of unsustainable debt. Fifth, external savings mitigate Dutch disease macroeconomic effects and serve as fiscal buffers. The paper also discusses how these models were used to estimate the quantitative macro economic effects associated with these lessons.
Economic activity shows incipient signs of stabilization in some sectors while it remains weak in others. The fiscal consolidation efforts continued and the domestic primary balance at end-June 2018 improved by 0.3 percent of GDP relative to the same period in 2017. Inflation has turned positive at 0.9 percent in September 2018 and is expected to remain below the WAEMU convergence criterion of up to 3 percent during the program period. The government is revisiting its strategy on the two public banks and is relaunching their privatization. The socio-political tensions have abated but the situation remains uncertain, particularly in light of the upcoming elections at end-2018.