- Program implementation through April 2018 was satisfactory;
- A revised 2018 budget is helping to strengthen the public finances;
- While the growth outlook remains difficult, there are signs of a slight recovery of the non-oil sector;
- It would be important to sustain efforts to buttress the public finances and implement pending measures to foster diversification and good governance.
On August 16, 2018, the Management of the IMF completed the first review under the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP)1 with Equatorial Guinea.
The authorities continue to see the program as an instrument for bolstering capacity and helping build an adequate track record of performance that could serve as the basis for discussions on a potential Fund-supported program.
Notwithstanding still difficult economic and financial conditions, program implementation for the first review has been satisfactory. All but one of the end-April 2018 performance measures and indicative targets were met, some by wide margins, and fiscal space was created to increase social spending. The implementation of a revised 2018 budget has helped strengthen the public finances. Progress has been made on the structural agenda and the authorities remain committed to its implementation, but there are delays in some areas, particularly in those related to governance and transparency.
Despite signs of an incipient recovery in the non-hydrocarbon sector, the overall growth outlook remains challenging, reflecting mainly a continued decline in hydrocarbon output. Inflation remains subdued, driven by the economic slack and low world inflation. That said, macroeconomic imbalances have narrowed, reflecting the implementation of measures to strengthen the public finances and higher international oil prices. This has allowed an increase in government deposits at BEAC and an improvement in Equatorial Guinea’s reserves position at this institution, although the latter remains negative.
Going forward, it would be important to sustain efforts to further strengthen the public finances, as well as to ensure the implementation of measures to support economic diversification and improve governance and transparency.
IMF staff will remain engaged with the authorities to monitor progress with the implementation of their economic program and will continue to provide technical assistance and training to support Equatorial Guinea’s capacity-building efforts.
An SMP is an agreement between country authorities and Fund staff to monitor the implementation of the authorities’ economic program. SMPs do not entail endorsement by the IMF Executive Board. The SMP is supported by quantitative performance measures, indicative targets and structural measures.