International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
This paper is the sixth in a series that examines macroeconomic developments and prospects in low-income countries (LICs). LICs are defined in this report as the countries eligible to PRGT facilities (69 countries). The first section of the paper discusses recent macroeconomic developments and trends across LICs. The second section estimates LICs’ financing needs up to 2025 to resume and accelerate their income convergence with advanced economies (AEs). It does this by estimating the additional financing that would enable LICs to step up spending response to COVID, including vaccination needs, while rebuilding or keeping external buffers to enhance resilience, and then the paper considers the financing needed to allow LICs to accelerate convergence with AEs. The paper then discusses a mix of financing options, including concessional financing from the international financial institutions, grants and loans from bilateral donors, private financing and debt operations, but also domestic reforms within LICs themselves as a key component to foster growth, enhance private investment, raise public revenues, and increase efficiency of spending.
As part of a five-year project of the Enhanced Data Dissemination Initiative (EDDI) 2 Government Finance Statistics (GFS) Module on improving GFS and public-sector debt statistics in selected African countries, a mission was conducted in Harare, Zimbabwe during April 15–26, 2019. This mission was a follow up on a 2018 GFS technical assistance (TA) mission under the EDDI 2. The mission’s objective was to review progress made and assisting with outstanding statistical issues that are important for sound policymaking in Zimbabwe. Some of the key outstanding issues raised by the IMF African Department prior to the mission were, the classification of government subsidies to state owned enterprises (SOEs); the identification of extrabudgetary units (EBUs) and classification of their operations; and the correct classification of other government transactions in line with a Government Finance Statistics Manual (GFSM) 2014 framework.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation focuses on Zimbabwe’s near- and medium-term challenges and policy priorities and was prepared before COVID-19 became a global pandemic that has resulted in unprecedented strains in global trade, commodity, and financial markets. It, therefore, does not reflect the implications of these developments and related policy priorities. The outbreak has greatly amplified uncertainty and downside risks around the outlook. The IMF staff is closely monitoring the situation and will continue to work on assessing its impact and the related policy response in Zimbabwe and globally. With another poor harvest expected, growth in 2020 is projected at near zero, following a sharp contraction in 2019, with food shortages continuing. With no progress on clearing longstanding external arrears, the authorities face a difficult balance of pursuing tight monetary, to reduce very high inflation, and fiscal policies to address the macroeconomic imbalances and build confidence in the currency, while averting a crisis. Pressures are mounting to increase spending on wages and for social protection to mitigate the impact of the weather shocks and high inflation. While the 2020 budget includes a significant increase in social spending, it is likely insufficient to meet the pressing needs.
This report reviews developments in the implementation of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative and Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI). It also provides updates on debt service and poverty-reducing expenditure by beneficiary countries, as well as on the cost of debt relief, creditor participation rates, and litigation against HIPCs.