Central African Republic: Second Review Under the Three-Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, Requests for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria and Augmentation of Access, and Financing Assurances Review—Informational Annex

This paper reviews the Central African Republic’s three-year arrangement under the poverty reduction and growth facility. Concerns about the social impact of higher fuel prices have delayed implementation of an automatic pricing formula and caused serious fiscal losses. The new financing strategy is based on issuing debt instruments in the regional financial market to improve the domestic debt profile. IMF staff recommends completion of the second review, granting of waivers for nonobservance of performance criteria, and an augmentation of access.


This paper reviews the Central African Republic’s three-year arrangement under the poverty reduction and growth facility. Concerns about the social impact of higher fuel prices have delayed implementation of an automatic pricing formula and caused serious fiscal losses. The new financing strategy is based on issuing debt instruments in the regional financial market to improve the domestic debt profile. IMF staff recommends completion of the second review, granting of waivers for nonobservance of performance criteria, and an augmentation of access.

Appendix I. Central African Republic: Relations with the Fund

(As of April 30, 2008)

I. Membership Status: Joined: 07/10/1963; Article VIII

II. General Resources Account:

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III. SDR Department:

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IV. Outstanding Purchases and Loans:

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V. Latest Financial Arrangements:

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VI. Projected Payments to the Fund (without HIPC Assistance)1

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

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Projected Payments to the Fund: (with Board-approved HIPC Assistance)

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

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VII. Implementation of HIPC Initiative:

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

IX. Safeguards Assessments: The Bank of the Central African States (BEAC) is the central bank for the Central African States, of which the Central African Republic is a member. A safeguards assessment of the BEAC was completed on August 30, 2004, and the main recommendations were reported in Country Report No. 05/424.

Exchange Rate Arrangement

The Central African Republic is a member of a monetary association with a common central bank, the BEAC. The exchange system common to all members operates without restrictions on the making of payments and transfers for current international transactions. The CFA franc is pegged to the euro at the fixed rate of CFAF 655.957 = €1. On April 30, 2008, the rate of the CFA franc in terms of SDRs was SDR 1 = CFAF 685.410.

Article IV Consultations

The Central African Republic is currently on the standard 24–month cycle for Article IV consultations for program countries. The last Article IV consultation was concluded on September 28, 2007.

Resident Representative

The Fund’s office in Bangui reopened in October 2007 (after being closed in September 2003). The Resident Representative is Mr. Joseph Ntamatungiro.

Table 1.

Central African Republic: Recent Technical Assistance

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Appendix II. Central African Republic: Relations with the World Bank Group

(As of April 15, 2008)

1. World Bank assistance to the Central African Republic (CAR) was disrupted by the recurrent conflicts during much of the past decade as well as arrears to IDA from January 2002–November 2006. The presidential and parliamentary elections in March and May 2005 marked the end of a two-year political transition, following a coup d’état in March 2003, and were generally deemed to have been satisfactorily conducted. The Bank’s objective over the past three years has been to help the CAR design and implement a framework to guide the country’s recovery and longer-term development and poverty reduction efforts and pave the way for a coordinated settlement of external arrears by multilateral creditors and increased volumes of donor financing. This has now been done. The CAR finalized its PRSP in June 2007 and reached the HIPC decision Point in September 2007. The international community pledged an estimated amount of $US600 million over 2008–2010 to support the CAR’s PRSP implementation. The Bank is now working with the international community to help the CAR move towards longer economic recovery and enhanced poverty reduction effort.

The Bank Group strategy in lending and non-lending activities

2. The World Bank and African Development Bank (AfDB) strategy and program in CAR is outlined in a joint Interim Strategy Note for FY07–08. A joint WB-AfDB Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) is under preparation with the Government, the launching of it took place in Bangui in March 2008. The new CPS will lay out the WB and AfDB strategy to support the PRSP implementation over the next three years (2008–2010).

3. The World Bank portfolio has become active as of November 2006 after five years of the country being in non-accrual status. So far, the portfolio is moving ahead well. A Reengagement and Institution Building Support Program Grant (US$82 million) approved in November 2006 closed in November 2007. The program helped the CAR cleared the country’s arrears to the Bank, paving the way for resumed IDA assistance, and focused on strengthening Governance and Natural Resource Management. The World Bank currently has five active projects in its portfolio totaling US$67.8 million. The portfolio consists of an Emergency Urban Infrastructure Rehabilitation and Maintenance (US$18 million) approved in May 2007 to rapidly rehabilitate, restore, improve and expand sustainable access to basic infrastructure services for the population of the most deprived districts of Bangui. A Regional Trade & Transportation Facilitation Project (US$24 million) approved in June 2007 aims to facilitate regional trade between Chad, Cameroon and CAR and improve their access to world markets through improving the implementation of the CEMAC Customs Union, and reducing barriers along the Douala-Bangui corridor. An HIV/AIDS project (US$17 million) that was in the portfolio when the country went into non-accrual status was restructured in May 2007 to expand its scope to include health and education emergency support. A second project funded by the Low Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS) Trust Fund (US$6.8 million) approved in October 2006 is also under implementation, covering Public Financial Management (PFM), Mining, Community Driven Development, HIV/AIDS and PFM aspects of Security. An emergency Social Service Delivery Grant funded by a LICUS Trust Fund (US$2 million) was approved in March 2008 to secure short-term, just-in-time support to protect social service workers’ salaries in the period March-April 2008. The portfolio includes a Country Record and Country Environment flag.

4. An Economic Management and Governance Reform Grant ($US7.9 million) is being finalized and will be presented to the Board of the World Bank in May 2008 and aims to sustain government reforms in public finance, forestry, and in the downstream petroleum sector. In addition, a project “Enhancing Governance and Economic Management System” project funded by the LICUS Trust Fund ($US2 million) is under preparation to support the implementation of the HIPC triggers and the Economic Management and Governance Reform Grant, thereby sustaining the reform effort started under the second LICUS project.

5. The Bank is also providing several pieces of analytical and advisory assistance (AAA). AAA completed in FY07 include a Diagnostic Trade Integration Study; a Country Financial Accountability Assessment; Country Procurement Issues Paper; Poverty Report; and Education Country Status Report. The Bank is also providing support to the PRSP, TA on Customs and support for debt relief. A Public Expenditure Review and Rural Sector Strategy are planned.

IMF-World Bank collaboration in specific areas

6. The World Bank has worked closely with the IMF on the reform program in the CAR, and generally share the same views on policy issues. There is broad agreement on the core reform program in the CAR, namely: (i) reinforcement of public expenditure and public payroll management; (ii) revenue mobilization and improvement of tax and custom administration; (iii) improving governance and transparency; and (iv) improving the delivery of public services, including education and health. The IMF-World Bank collaboration is summarized in Table 2.

Table 2.

Central African Republic: Bank-Fund Collaboration

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Areas in which the World Bank leads and there is no direct IMF involvement

7. To assist demobilization and socio-economic reintegration of ex-combatants into their home communities, the Bank approved the Reintegration of Ex-combatants and Support to Communities Special Project in an amount of US$9.8 million in April 2004. The project, funded through the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) of the Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP), closed in February 2007. Its objectives were to contribute to the overall stability of the country by (i) demobilizing ex-combatants and reintegrating them socially and economically back into their community; (ii) strengthening the capacity of communities of return to ensure the sustainable reintegration of the ex-combatants; and (iii) supporting projects on security and conflict prevention in communities that are most affected by security problems. This work is being followed up through the security component of LICUS2 and a multidonor effort in security sector reform.

8. To support the emergency rehabilitation of at least 80 communities in four prefectures (Kemo, Ouaka, Kemo, Basse Kotto and Mbomou), the Bank has signed a Grant agreement with an international NGO and with the Government in an amount of US$2.75 million. The project is funded entirely through the LICUS TF and is expected to establish a model for a community-driven approach that helps build social capital, provide critical social services, and restart some level of economic activity in the selected communities.

Areas in which the World Bank leads and its analysis serves as input into the IMF-supported programs

9. The Bank is taking the lead on laying the groundwork for the preparation of a medium term structural reform framework in the context of the PRSP. In addition to the LICUS Trust Fund activities, the Bank has continued to engage in analytical and advisory work. In collaboration with other partners, it prepared a set of Policy Notes, focusing on key thematic areas including security, natural resource management, social sectors, procurement and public finance. The IMF has a strong interest in the financial sector from a macroeconomic perspective, including growth and the monitoring of quasi-fiscal deficits and contingent public liabilities, as well as an interest in governance and transparency issues in natural resources management.

10. During 2006, the Bank has prepared a report on public procurement (CPIP), on trade (DTIS) and on public finance management (CFAA). In the latter area, reports were prepared on cash management and accounting nomenclature, and on civil service reform and payroll control. In end–2007, the Bank has led a PEFA mission in collaboration with development partners and a draft report to be reviewed by the Government and partners was released in April 2008. In the context of the LICUS2 grant, and the Reengagement and Institution-Building Support Program, the Bank funded and is supporting governance-enhancing activities in the sectors of mining, forestry and telecommunications and in the judicial area. The objective pursued is to create an environment conducive to private sector development and to ensure the respect of investors’ rights. In the context of the upcoming LICUS grant, the Bank would finance activities supporting the production of quarterly budget execution report and the Execution Law as well as central government accounts.

Areas of shared responsibility

11. The Government finalized its PRSP in June 2007 with assistance from UNDP, the AfDB, and the World Bank to ensure that the PRSP will provide the requisite medium-term framework with sufficient depth and breadth of coverage of the country’s recovery and longer term development and poverty reduction needs. The IMF-World Bank Joint Staff Advisory Note will be discussed at a World Bank Board meeting on May 27, 2008.

12. The Bank and the IMF are working together to assess debt sustainability and HIPC eligibility for the C.A.R. The Bank and the IMF are also active in the area of regional integration. The Bank has been implementing a Regional Assistance Strategy for the CEMAC countries, including a support to the payments systems, while the IMF has been active in regional macroeconomic surveillance. An FSAP was undertaken for CAR in February 2008.

Areas in which the IMF leads and its analysis serves as input into the World Bank-supported programs

13. The IMF has taken the lead on core macroeconomic and fiscal policies, revenue mobilization, and the management of aggregate expenditures. The Bank has been working with the IMF to ensure consistency between its own projects and policy advice and the overall fiscal framework. In the framework of a donor partnership, the Bank has provided training and technical assistance to strengthen the CAR public finance administration.

Areas in which the IMF leads and there is no direct World Bank involvement

14. The IMF has been leading the dialogue on monetary policy, exchange rate management, and balance of payments issues, although given the nature of the CFA franc arrangement, there is little scope for policy action in these areas at the national level.

Questions may be addressed to Eric Bell (202-458-7490) or Luc Razafimandimby (202-458-9539).

Appendix III. Central African Republic: Statistical Issues

15. Data are broadly adequate for surveillance purposes, but weaknesses persist. To help address these, efforts have been underway to improve the national statistical system including through adopting a statistics law and setting up a National Statistical Board in 2001 and technical assistance in national accounts and government finance statistics. Issues of source data, compilation, and dissemination affect all sectors, but are particularly severe in the areas of the real sector, government finance, and external trade statistics.

16. With the support of a statistics expert mission during January 26–February 13, 2004, the Central African Republic (CAR) became a participant in the GDDS and first posted metadata on the IMF’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) on June 14, 2004.

Real sector

17. The compilation of national accounts is the responsibility of the General Directorate of Statistics and Economic and Social Studies (DGSEES) of the Ministry of Planning. The 1999 multisector mission found serious deficiencies in the institutional arrangements for compiling statistics as well as weaknesses in data collection procedures and compilation techniques. The authorities should continue efforts to improve the quality of national accounts estimates and the reporting of quarterly foreign trade data. At the same time, revisions are needed for the wholesale and the consumer price indices as the limited coverage and the obsolescence of the weights used in compiling these indices cast serious doubts on their accuracy.

18. An STA expert in national accounts visited Bangui in mid–2005 (and a follow-up AFRITAC visit in December 2007) found a serious resource gap at the DGSEES and recommended a number of measures, particularly the redeployment of resources to strengthen the national accounts area. There is an urgent need to develop source data, by conducting surveys, particularly for the subsistence agriculture sector which represents an estimated 30 percent of the economy. In addition, estimates of activity in the informal sector are still based on a 1982 survey. In the manufacturing sector, estimation is based on an outdated list of enterprises and likely overestimates activity, given that many of these enterprises either do not exist or have reduced their production considerably. There is the pressing need to update the business register through a survey of enterprises and to reinstate publication of the industrial production index.

Government finance

19. The 1999 multisector statistics mission noted that the Treasury accounts had in previous years served reasonably well as the principal data source for GFS, as is the case in most countries with a French-style public finance system. However, the coverage of the accounts no longer included all units of even budgetary central government, thus impeding compilation of an analytically meaningful set of government finance statistics. Moreover, even the available, partial information was not communicated in a timely way to the Ministry of Finance. In February 2004, a follow-up mission underscored that, in order to re-establish a systematic compilation of government finance statistics, substantial additional assistance would be required, notably in the area of Treasury accounting and expenditure management, with a view to producing reliable source data and improving the accuracy of, among other things, domestic arrears. The mission made specific recommendations toward this objective, and a subsequent April 2004 FAD mission confirmed and reinforced these recommendations. Assistance is currently provided by a resident FAD public expenditure management advisor. A follow-up STA mission in mid–2005 reviewed recent developments and proposed further steps for improving the source data for the compilation of the government financial operations table (Tableau des Opérations Financières de l’État, TOFE) and for further development and use of the Treasury cash plan. The GFS are expected to benefit significantly from the ongoing work on a new chart of accounts.

Monetary accounts

20. Monthly data for the CAR, as well as for the other members of the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC), are regularly reported to the Fund in electronic form by the Bank of Central African States (BEAC). Accuracy of data on currency in circulation is affected by large cross-border movements of currency among CEMAC member countries. Only 25 percent of banknotes issued in the CAR by the BEAC National Directorate remain in the territory, 51 percent circulate in Cameroon and about 17 percent in Chad, while currency in circulation in the CAR includes some 13 percent of banknotes from the Republic of Congo, 6 percent of banknotes from Cameroon, and 3 percent of banknotes from Gabon.

21. The monetary and financial statistics (MFS) mission in October 2006 assisted the authorities in assessing consistency between government finance statistics (bank financing) and monetary statistics (net position of the government). The mission also provided guidance in migrating to the new Standardized Report Forms (SRFs) for the submission of monetary statistics to STA, and helped update the metadata for the financial sector posted on the IMF website within the framework of the GDDS. However, the BEAC has yet to submit, for any of its member countries, test data using the SRFs. Key recommendations from the MFS mission included: (i) expansion of monetary statistics to include the largest microfinance institution in the country (Crédit mutuel de Centrafrique); (ii) finalization and implementation of the updated sectorized list of public entities to improve accuracy of monetary statistics and consistency with GFS; and (iii) verification of the reliability of source data reported by commercial banks through the new electronic reporting system.

22. 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 a part of this project, a regional meeting was organized by the BEAC in December 2007 to finalize the mapping of source data from commercial banks to the MFSM concepts and framework. An STA staff participated in the meeting to provide guidance and advice.

Balance of payments

23. As in other CEMAC countries, the agency responsible for the compilation of balance of payments statistics is the Balance of Payments Unit of the national agency of the BEAC. Past delays with data compilation and dissemination, which were mainly related to the transition from the fourth to the fifth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual, have been addressed through the recent implementation of methodological improvements. The last complete reporting, prepared by the national balance of payments committee, covered 2002 annual data. Preliminary statements for 2003–05 are available from the national BEAC office in Bangui, and have been transmitted to the African Department.

24. Efforts have been made to improve the compilation system, including the development of a flexible questionnaire. Nonetheless, problems remain and the main issues concern data sources, including the need to update the BOP survey (list of respondents, reporting forms, and codification). Various methodologies or statistical techniques need to be reviewed, such as the computation of freight and insurance and procedures for attributing banknote movements among transactions. The timeliness of the biannual balance of payments (presently 90 days) needs to be improved.

External and domestic debt

25. External and domestic debt statistics are compiled by the Debt Directorate of the Ministry of Finance. The quality of data needs to be significantly improved and efforts have been underway to verify with creditors the stock of external debt outstanding and of external arrears. Similarly, domestic debt data are of poor quality, due in part to the difficulty of monitoring public expenditure from commitment to payment. However, the actual stock of government domestic arrears (up to end–2004) has been verified by a working group, with the help of a World Bank consultant, and a census of arrears accumulated during 2005–07 will be undertaken soon. The planned introduction of a government financial management information system (GFMIS) should also help improve the monitoring of arrears. The reconciliation process with external creditors was completed in June 2007, with 99 percent of the multilateral, bilateral and commercial debt as of end–2006 reconciled. The Debt Directorate is currently seeking funding and technical expertise to upgrade their outdated debt data management software.

Table 3.

Central African Republic: Table of Common Indicators Required for Surveillance

(As of May 8, 2008)

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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 non-bank 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.

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


When a member has overdue financial obligations outstanding for more than three months, the amount of such arrears will be shown in this section.


Assistance committed under the original framework is expressed in net present value (NPV) terms at the completion point, and assistance committed under the enhanced framework is expressed in NPV terms at the decision point. Hence, these two amounts cannot be added.


Under the enhanced framework, an additional disbursement is made at the completion point corresponding to interest income earned on the amount committed at the decision point but not disbursed during the interim period.

Central African Republic: Second Review Under the Three-Year Arrangement Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility, Requests for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria and Augmentation of Access, and Financing Assurance Review: Staff Report; Press Release on the Executive Board Discussion; and Statement by the Executive Director for the Central African Republic
Author: International Monetary Fund