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Gabon: Second and Third Reviews Under the Stand-By Arrangement and Requests for Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria and Modification of Performance Criterion—Informational Annex

Author(s):
International Monetary Fund
Published Date:
April 2009
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Annex I. Relations with the Fund

(as of December 31, 2008)

I. Membership Status: Joined: September 10, 1963; Article VIII

II. General Resources Account:

SDR Million%Quota
Quota154.30100.00
Fund holdings of currency153.8599.71
Reserve Position0.450.29
Holdings Exchange Rate

III. SDR Department:

SDR Million%Allocation
Net cumulative allocation14.09100.00
Holdings0.302.15

IV. Outstanding Purchases and Loans: None

V. Latest Financial Arrangements:

TypeDate of

Arrangement
Expiration

Date
Amount Approved

(SDR Million)
Amount Drawn

(SDR Million)
Stand-ByMay 07, 2007May 06, 201077.150.00
Stand-ByMay 28, 2004Jul31,200569.4441.66
Stand-ByOct 23, 2000Apr 22, 200292.5813.22

VI. Projected Payments to Fund (Expectation Basis)

(SDR Million; based on existing use of resources and present holdings of SDRs):

Forthcoming
20092010201120122013
Principal
Charges/Interest0.130.110.110.110.11
Total0.130.110.110.110.11

VII. Implementation of HIPC Initiative: Not Applicable

VIII. Implementation of Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative (MDRI): Not Applicable

IX. Safeguards Assessments:

The Bank of the Central African States (BEAC) is the regional central bank of the Central African States. The most recent safeguards assessment of the BEAC was completed on August 30, 2004. The assessment found that the Bank has implemented a number of measures to strengthen its safeguards framework since the 2001 safeguards assessment, and recommended further enhancements in the areas of external and internal audits, and financial reporting. Latest monitoring results indicate the existence of certain vulnerabilities including in the system of internal audit and internal controls. These and other aspects of the BEAC safeguards framework are reviewed in the context of the 2008 update safeguards assessment of BEAC that is underway.

X. Exchange Rate Arrangement:

Gabon is a member of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC). The common currency, the CFA franc, is pegged to the Euro at a fixed rate of CFAF 655.957= €1. Gabon does not have a separate currency.

Like other members of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), Gabon has accepted the obligations of Article VIII, Section 2.3 and 2.4 of the IMF Articles of Agreement. Restrictions on making payments and transfers for current international transactions are in place only for security reasons in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution No. 1373.

XI. Article IV Consultations:

  • (a) Gabon is on a 24-month Article IV consultation cycle.
  • (b) The Executive Board concluded the last Article IV consultation with Gabon on July 28, 2008.

XII. FSAP Participation:

A national module for Gabon of the joint IMF/World Bank Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) was completed in 2002 and discussed by the Executive Board in March 2002 (IMF Country Report No. 02/98). A regional FSAP module for the CEMAC was completed in 2006 and discussed by the Executive Board in 2006 (IMF Country Report No. 06/321).

XIII. Technical Assistance:

A. Central Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC)

AreaFocusTime of Delivery
Public financial managementSeminar on Treasury managementMar. 2008
Economic statisticsNational accountsMar./Oct. 2008
Revenue administrationStrengthening fiscal administrationFeb. 2008
Revenue administrationAssistance in reform implementationFeb. 2008
Public financial managementMonthly budget reportsDec. 2007
Bank supervisionBank supervisionNov. 2007
Debt managementReview debt management proceduresNov. 2007
Revenue administrationReview customs reforms and TA needs assessmentNov. 2007
Economic statisticsNational accountsOct. 2007
Revenue administrationStrengthening fiscal administrationOct. 2007
Economic statisticsPrice statisticsSep. 2007
Public financial managementDesign and implementation of treasury planJun. 2007
Public financial managementTreasury plan; public financial reportingJun. 2007
Revenue administrationReview of fiscal administration reformsJun. 2007
Debt managementInstitutional supportMay 2007

B. Headquarters

DepartmentPurposeTime of Delivery
FADRevenue administration—review of reforms and next stepsSep. 2008
FADSeminar on governance and oil and gas contractsApr. 2008
MCMPublic debt—handbook elaboration for GabonNov. 2007 /
Apr. 2008
LEGFinancial Intelligence Unit developmentJun. 2007
FADPoverty and social impact analysis of fuel subsidies reformJan. 2007
FADFiscal ROSCMar./Apr. 2006
FADBudget managementMar. 2004
FADTax policy and administrationNov. 2003
LEGLaw against illicit enrichmentJun., Jul.,
Oct. 2003
FADBudgetary procedures and expenditure controlNov. 2000
STAMultisector statistics missionMay 1998
FADValue-added tax administration issuesAug. 1997

XIV. Resident Representative:

The Fund maintains a resident representative office in Libreville. The current resident representative, Mr. Thiam Samba, assumed his post in 2007.

Annex II. Relations with the World Bank

(Updated as of May 14, 2008)

1. Gabon is one of Africa's few IBRD countries; GNI per capita was US$5630 in 2006. The Bank is working closely with the IMF team to support structural measures, particularly for the development of natural resources (forestry, mining, and fisheries) and local private sectors in urban areas; and to support implementation of the Government's Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRSP).

The Bank Group Strategy and Lending Operations

2. The Board of Directors approved the Gabon Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) on May 24, 2005, and discussed a CAS progress report on January 17, 2008. The strategy is articulated around two pillars: (1) strengthening the management of public resources (both natural and financial) to improve social outcomes; and (2) improving the investment climate to foster sustainable, private-sector-led non-oil growth. Cross-cutting themes are developing capacity in government and civil society, and improving governance and participation. During the Board review of the CAS progress report, directors expressed broad support for the strategy and noted the country's efforts to improve governance through EITI and emphasized that more attention needed to be paid to improving weak social indicators.

3. The Bank has a base-case assistance program for Gabon that includes lending operations in the urban, natural resources, and infrastructure sectors: a US$15 million Natural Resources Management Development Policy Loan approved in November 2005; a US$25 million Public Investment Program for Local Infrastructure Development approved in March 2006; and a US$75 million Infrastructure Project planned for early FY09. Each operation emphasizes improving transparency and efficiency in the use of public resources, and improving the environment for participation of the private sector. The three conditions for the Natural Resource Management DPL2 have been met.

4. Currently IFC has an exposure of US$32.5 million in oil, gas, electricity, and telecommunications, and the World Bank Group's Foreign Investment Advisory Services (FIAS) completed a diagnostic study of the investment climate in late 2004. A US$61 million MIGA guarantee for rehabilitation and modernization of a professional training institute was approved by the Board in May 2005. This project is MIGA's first in the education sector.

IMF—World Bank Collaboration

5. IMF and World Bank staffs collaborate closely in supporting reforms to foster economic diversification and in coordinating their policy advice to the Gabonese authorities. In view of the structural measures envisaged by the medium-term program, successful implementation of the reform program hinges on complementary action by the World Bank, especially in the areas of business climate improvements, effective and efficient public resources management (including MTEF), poverty reduction policies, nonrenewable resource management, and identification and development of sources of growth in the non-oil sector. In 2007 Gabon was selected as one of the pilot countries for the initiative of the World Bank's Managing Director Daboub and the Fund's First Deputy Managing Director Lipsky to reinforce collaboration between the two institutions on management of natural resources. Bank and Fund teams are discussing with the Gabonese authorities specific projects.

Bank/Fund Collaboration
Area of Structural ReformLead Institution
Fiscal area
Civil service reformIMF
Expenditure monitoring and controlIMF
Public financial management reviewWorld Bank
Tax administration and fiscal ROSCIMF
Governance
Anticorruption law implementationIMF
Code of ethics for government officialsIMF
Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI)World Bank/IMF
Private sector development
FIAS study of the business climateWorld Bank/IFC
Diversification and non-oil sector developmentWorld Bank
Other
Price controlsIMF
Forestry, environment, fisheries, mining, oilWorld Bank/IMF
PRSPWorld Bank/IMF
External tradeWorld Bank / IMF
TransportWorld Bank
Urban developmentWorld Bank

IMF–World Bank Collaboration in Specific Areas

Areas where there is no direct IMF involvement

6. The Bank supported completion of the Government's poverty reduction strategy and will continue to provide support for strengthening statistical capacity and assisting the NSO (National Statistical Office). In summer 2005 the Bank provided financial and technical assistance for household surveys using a Core Welfare Indicators Questionnaire (CWIQ) to update social indicators to be monitored annually. The results of the CWIQ household survey were used in finalizing the GPRSP. The Bank also plans to help the NSO put together a system for monitoring the poverty reduction strategy, and it completed a new poverty assessment based on the expenditure module of the CWIQ survey in December 2006. The assessment will provide the basis for regularly monitoring poverty trends in Gabon. Together with the programs and sectoral strategies developed in the GPRSP, it will provide a firmer foundation for directing resources to poverty alleviation over the long term.

Areas where the World Bank leads and its analysis guides IMF activity

7. In November 2005, the Bank Board approved a $15 million Natural Resources Management Development Policy Loan (DPL) that covers the forest, environment, fisheries, mining, and oil sectors. In the oil sector, it will support implementation of the EITI. In March 2006, the Board also approved a $10 million grant from the Global Environment Facility for Gabon's national parks. It focuses on improving transparency, law enforcement, and removing policy distortions and on helping the authorities implement reforms and empower civil society organizations and local communities to manage natural resources. The project is expected to broaden the number of beneficiaries and raise social and environmental standards in the forestry, fishing, and mining sectors, and thus help the government to diversify the economy and reduce its dependence on oil. The 2007 CAS progress report found that the high-case triggers to move to a second Natural Resource Management DPL have been met, although it will be sequenced to follow disbursement of the second tranche of the previous loan. However, given delays in implementing the first DPL, it is not expected that the second project will be in place by the end of FY2009.

8. In June 2004 the Bank completed a US$5 million Pilot Community Infrastructure Development Project (Learning and Innovation Loan) designed to test new methods for building community-based infrastructure and supporting local contractors. The goal was to improve living conditions in certain poor urban neighborhoods in a sustainable way and with substantial community participation. The project also aimed at building local capacity to undertake a larger program of community-based public works. The initiative was successful, and the Bank on March 14, 2006, approved a US$25 million loan to (1) increase the access of people living in low-income settlements to basic services; and (2) sustain the access of local SMEs to civil works and public construction contracts. The project is likely to increase the access of the poor to infrastructure and services, build up SMEs, and improve the quality of public works through increased transparency and efficient procurement and contract management.

9. A combined Public Expenditure Review/Country Financial Accountability Assessment/Country Procurement and Audit Review was completed late in 2006. Its aim was to improve public expenditure management and control systems, ensuring that funds are used for the purposes for which they were intended and achieve the expected results. As part of the PFM reforms, the Bank is leading multidonor assistance to help authorities draft and implement a medium term expenditure framework (MTEF).

10. FIAS (a joint facility of the World Bank and IFC) is providing advice on improving the investment climate in Gabon; in September 2004 it completed a diagnostic of the investment climate, including identification of priorities for reform with recommendations. The authorities held a validation workshop in February 2005 to discuss the recommendations and establish an action plan. Further studies were envisioned to identify constraints on private investment and draft an action plan to remedy impediments to private sector growth, including detailed reviews of administrative barriers to investment and of the tax and incentive regime (with an objective of proposing concrete changes). Each study is to be confirmed based on action taken on the previous one.

11. The World Bank has also completed an Infrastructure Framework Report. It covers transport infrastructure (railways and air and maritime transport), telecommunications, water, and power. The report was discussed with the Government Steering Committee during a dissemination workshop in December 2007. The World Bank and PPIAF discussed with the Government follow-up technical assistance in a number of areas, including stronger regulation of telecoms, institutional capacity building for development and management of PPPs, and preparation of a rural electricity program.

Areas of shared responsibility

12. While the Bank has taken the lead in structural reforms impacting the environment for the private sector, the IMF also has considerable interest in the same area. The IMF's primary focus is on good governance, particularly fiscal, and promotion of transparency in both the public and private sectors. Additional concerns for the Bank are the efficiency of the resulting market structures and improved enterprise operation. Both Bank and IMF are working closely in the financial sector, for which the two institutions prepared a joint Financial Sector Assessment Program (FSAP) in 2002. While the FSAP indicated that the financial sector in Gabon is generally profitable and stable, it also identified structural weaknesses and risks in Gabon's financial sector, including undiversified bank portfolios and underdevelopment of nonbank financial institutions.

13. Areas where the Fund takes the lead and its analysis guides Bank–supported programs are in the dialogue on fiscal matters, which sets the envelope for public expenditures. The IMF is also providing technical assistance on governance and anticorruption. The IMF leads the dialogue on policies to contain certain public expenditures, such as those regarding the public wage bill and definition of the ceiling for public investment. In these areas, the Bank ensures that its own policy advice is consistent with IMF recommendations. The IMF is also monitoring implementation of the Uniform Acts of the Organization for the Harmonization of Business Law in Africa (OHADA) and the trade liberalization measures being taken at the CEMAC (regional) level. This supplements a significant program of Bank work to support regional integration among CEMAC countries. These measures should improve the business climate and will complement work by the Bank (in conjunction with the IFC) to facilitate investment.

14. Areas where there is no direct World Bank involvement relate to the dialogue on monetary policy, interest rates, the exchange rate, the balance of payments, and related statistical and measurement issues.

Annex III. Gabon: Statistical Issues

1. Data provision has some shortcomings, but is broadly adequate for surveillance. Staff's analysis is affected by shortcomings in the accuracy, reliability and adequacy of periodicity and timeliness for certain data, as well as consistency between datasets. The statistical producing agencies do not have sufficient access to source data and lack an institutional framework in which to share information and coordinate compilation efforts.

2. Gabon participates in the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) but has not updated the metadata or plans for improvement, since 2002. Except for consumer prices, the authorities do not report any real sector or government finance statistics (GFS) to STA for publication in International Financial Statistics (IFS) or for electronic dissemination. Detailed economic and financial statistics, including long historical time series, are published in the Tendances de l'Économie, issued twice a year by the General Directorate of Statistics and Economic Studies (DGSEE) of the Ministry of Planning. More recent sectoral developments are described in detail in the Tableau de Bord de l'Économie, issued quarterly by the General Directorate for the Economy (DGE) of the Ministry of Economy, Finance, Budget, and Privatization.

3. Publication of the statistical appendix to Article IV consultation reports has been discontinued since, with Fund technical assistance, Gabon now posts similar data on the internet (www.stat-gabon.ga/Home/Index1.htm).

National accounts

4. Central AFRITAC (AFC) is working with authorities to incorporate the System of National Accounts 1993 methodological recommendations, particularly in the valuation of sectoral value added at basic prices. Coverage of developments in oil and other key export sectors is based on a range of indicators that may not fully capture the profits these sectors generate. Despite recent improvements in collecting and processing oil sector statistics, there are still significant inconsistencies between national accounts and balance of payments statistics. In addition, more frequent household surveys are required to improve the quality and quantity of data on income distribution and consumption. Two 2008 AFC missions have provided technical assistance on the treatment of statistics and fiscal statements (SFS), and the implementation of Access software for the SFS compilation. Efforts are needed to establish a more consistent database. The processing of the SFS of 2007 for the compilation of the national accounts of the same year is planned to be finalized by end-2008.

Employment and unemployment

5. Data on unemployment and the total labor force are not systematically available.

Prices

6. In 2007 the authorities began publishing an improved CPI index, which covers the same basket of goods and services as the CEMAC Harmonized Consumer Price Index (HCPI) and uses a weighting scheme derived from Gabon's 2005 household expenditure survey. However, it only covers the capital city of Libreville.

Government finance statistics

7. A major shortcoming is limited institutional coverage, as social security operations are not included in the statement of operations of central or general government. Audited accounts of oil sector operations are generally available annually and sometimes quarterly, but with a significant reporting lag. Other needed improvements relate, inter alia, to the statistical treatment of oil company tax advances, the recording in the budget accounts of government-owned capital formation financed by oil companies, and the recording of government domestic payment arrears.

8. While there is a fairly good database on the operations of the largest enterprises, information is communicated to the staff only ad hoc, usually during Fund missions. At present, the data cover enterprises in which government equity participation is at least 25 percent.

Monetary statistics

9. The Bank of Central African States (BEAC) regularly reports in electronic form monthly monetary, interest rate, and exchange rate statistics for Gabon and other CEMAC member countries for publication in IFS, but delays occur sometimes in the submission of data. Institutional coverage of the monetary statistics for Gabon is comprehensive, but accuracy is affected by cross-border movements of currency among CEMAC member countries. Gabon, however, imports far fewer CFA bank notes than the other CEMAC countries. About 97 percent of notes circulating in Gabon are nationally issued; the rest are from the Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Equatorial Guinea. Gabon exports about 18 percent of its notes, most of which go to Cameroon (12 percent) and to the Republic of Congo (4 percent).

10. The BEAC started in mid-2007 a project to migrate monetary statistics of member countries of the CEMAC to the methodology in the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual (MFSM). As part of this project, a regional workshop was organized by the BEAC in December 2007 to finalize the mapping of source data from commercial banks to the MFSM concepts and framework. STA participated in this workshop to provide guidance and advice. The BEAC has recently submitted test monetary data for Gabon using the standardized report forms for the period January 2000–December 2007.

External public debt

11. There are comprehensive data on the stock of external public debt and its composition, as well as detailed projections on debt service due. Data are provided, usually to Fund missions, by the General Directorate of Public Debt and Accounting (direction générale de la comptabilité publique) of the Ministry of Economy, Finance, Budget, and Privatization.

Balance of payments and trade statistics

12. Balance of payments statistics are compiled by the national directorate of the BEAC and the estimates are validated by staff from BEAC headquarters. Data are disseminated with considerable delay, and the latest available official statistics are for 2005. Since 1995 compilation of balance of payments statistics has conformed to the Balance of Payments Manual, 5th edition. Source data are collected through (i) surveys of enterprises by the central bank (the main source of data); (ii) reports from banks and the postal administration on foreign exchange transactions of other enterprises, retailers, and private individuals; and (iii) BEAC reports on banknote movements between Gabon and other BEAC countries. External trade data are mostly based on estimates, which are not cross-checked with customs data. Data on other items of the current account are not very reliable or accurate due to low response rates to enterprise surveys, despite partial correction through adjustments. Foreign direct investment in the financial account is likely to be underestimated owing to insufficient detail in the oil sector survey. The magnitude and detailed breakdown of private capital flows, particularly short term, suffer because data are not comprehensive.

Gabon: Table of Common Indicators Required for Surveillance(As of January 31, 2009)
Date of latest observationDate receivedFrequency of data 7Frequency of reporting 7Frequency of publication 7
Exchange RatesJan. 2009Jan. 2009DDD
International Reserve Assets and Reserve Liabilities of the Monetary Authorities 1Oct. 2008Dec. 2008MMM
Reserve/Base MoneyOct. 2008Dec. 2008MMM
Broad MoneyOct. 2008Dec. 2008MMM
Central Bank Balance SheetOct. 2008Dec. 2008MMM
Consolidated Balance Sheet of the Banking SystemOct. 2008Dec. 2008MMM
Interest Rates 2Jan. 2009Jan. 2009MMM
Consumer Price IndexNov. 2008Dec. 2008MMM
Revenue, Expenditure, Balance and Composition of Financing 3 – General Government 4Sep. 2008Dec. 2008MMM
Revenue, Expenditure, Balance and Composition of Financing 3– Central GovernmentSep. 2008Dec. 2008MMM
Stocks of Central Government and Central Government-Guaranteed Debt 5Dec. 2007Mar. 2008QQI
External Current Account BalanceDec. 2005Sep. 2006AIA
Exports and Imports of Goods and ServicesDec. 2005Sep. 2006MMI
GDP/GNP2006Oct. 2007AIA
Gross External DebtDec. 2007Mar. 2008QII
International Investment Position 6N/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

Includes reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions.

Both market-based and officially-determined, including discount rates, money market rates, rates on treasury bills, notes and bonds.

Foreign, domestic bank, and domestic nonbank financing.

The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extra budgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.

Including currency and maturity composition.

Includes external gross financial asset and liability positions vis-à-vis nonresidents.

Daily (D), Weekly (W), Monthly (M), Quarterly (Q), Annually (A); Irregular (I); Not Available (NA).

Includes reserve assets pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions.

Both market-based and officially-determined, including discount rates, money market rates, rates on treasury bills, notes and bonds.

Foreign, domestic bank, and domestic nonbank financing.

The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extra budgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.

Including currency and maturity composition.

Includes external gross financial asset and liability positions vis-à-vis nonresidents.

Daily (D), Weekly (W), Monthly (M), Quarterly (Q), Annually (A); Irregular (I); Not Available (NA).

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