This paper aims to provide a broad perspective on the WAEMU fiscal framework. Based on backward looking exercises and forward looking scenarios, it shows that (i) repeated fiscal slippages and historically large stock flow adjustments contributed to the surge in the WAEMU public debt, and (ii) stock flow adjustments can have significant effects on the WAEMU debt dynamics going forward. This paper also discusses that it is essential and urgent to reintroduce the fiscal rules and the Convergence Pact and to enhance the rules. Revamping the fiscal rules should focus on introducing a correction mechanism (which could contain surges in debt in the future) and an escape clause (which would enhance fiscal discipline and predictability), as well as capturing the extensive extra-budgetary and below-the-line operations and strengthening the enforcement mechanism. Any consideration to changing the fiscal deficit target should also encompass addressing extra-budgetary and below-the-line transactions (for example by changing the definition of the deficit). It is not appropriate to increase the debt ceiling.
The WAEMU’s post-Covid-19 recovery has so far withstood the new global and regional shocks, partly owing to supportive fiscal and monetary policies as well as relatively strong macroeconomic fundamentals over the previous decade. Growth prospects remain favorable, reserves—albeit declining—remain adequate, and the financial system appears to be resilient. However, the region faces important challenges associated with rising inflation, limited access to international capital markets, eroding external buffers, and regional security issues, in the presence of elevated global risks.
Gerardo Uña, Alok Verma, Majid Bazarbash, and Ms. Naomi N Griffin
Fintech payments leverage large digital platforms to fill gaps in the traditional payment system. They have made great strides in increasing access to payment services in several countries around the globe. At the same time, like any innovation, the new payment models are exposed to risks in their operating environment. We review the main fintech payment models (mobile money, internet-based fintech payment, and digital money) and discuss operational and financial risks as well as challenges they face. We then explore how public financial management (PFM), especially treasury payments and non-tax revenue collections, could benefit from fintech payments by providing examples of early fintech applications in different countries and discuss the challenges of integrating them into the public sector. The use of fintech in public finance could bring various benefits—including strengthening fiscal transparency, improving budget planning and execution, and upgrading cash management—if public sector institutional and technological capacities are strengthened and risks are adequately mitigated.