2019 Article IV Consultation, Fourth and Fifth Reviews under the Extended Arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility, and Request for Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria, and Rephasing of the Remaining Purchases; Press Release; Staff Report; and Statement by the Executive Director
This paper discusses challenges, outlook, and risks of Gabon's economy. Gabon's economy is facing mounting headwinds. Economic activity benefited from a one-off boost in oil production in 2015, due to the introduction of new oil fields and productivity improvements, which are expected to help maintain overall growth about 4 percent in 2015. However, the slowdown in non-oil economy activity continued, led by construction, transport, commerce, and services. The main downside risk to the outlook remains weak fiscal adjustment to sharply lower oil prices. In the event of weaker-than-projected performance on oil revenues or government spending, government would be forced to substantially draw down on its deposit buffer and/or significantly increase borrowing.
This 2014 Article IV Consultation highlights that Gabon’s growth performance has recently been strong, but fiscal pressures have increased significantly. Real GDP growth has averaged about 6 percent in the last four years on the back of substantial scaling-up of capital spending as the authorities implement their strategy Plan Stratégique Gabon Emergent to promote economic diversification and growth inclusiveness. The medium-term growth outlook has weakened as a result of the sharp decline in oil prices, but is expected to remain relatively strong. Growth is expected to be driven by a number of projects under way in agro-industry, mining, and wood processing.
Economic growth has been robust under favorable conditions in Gabon, but has not been inclusive enough, leaving one-third of its population in poverty. Building larger fiscal buffers, backed by a more prudent fiscal stance, will be critical to withstand possible negative oil price shocks. Efforts are under way to improve the management, and transparency of public finance must be carried out vigorously. Comprehensive policies are needed to support a diversified and more inclusive economic growth that is rich in employment opportunities.
Victor Duarte Lledo and Mr. Marcos Poplawski Ribeiro
This paper investigates economic, political, and institutional constraints to fiscal policy implementation in sub-saharan Africa. We find that planned fiscal adjustments or expansions are less likely to be implemented the larger they are, the more inaccurate the growth forecasts they are based on, the more fragile the regulatory system in the country, and the weaker the institutions framing the design, approval, and execution of the budget. The findings support ongoing efforts in the region to improve the quality and timeliness of economic data; enhance forecasting capacity; adopt realistic fiscal plans; and strengthen governance, budgetary institutions, and public financial management procedures.
This paper presents a description of the IMF and its activities, focusing in particular on its technical assistance (TA) activities. The report then describes in greater detail the Japan Administered Account for Selected Fund Activities (JSA)—including its objectives, size, scope, and use, as well as assessments of its activities, with a focus on fiscal year (FY) 2007—and the TA activities and scholarship programs that it finances. The IMF’s technical assistance is delivered mainly by its Fiscal Affairs Department (FAD), Monetary and Capital Markets Department (MCM), and Statistics Department (STA). Japan provides grant contributions for two scholarship programs. In 1996, the Japan-IMF Scholarship Program for Advanced Studies, which is administered by the IMF Institute, was established. JSA resources can be used to cover the cost of short- and long-term TA experts and other costs associated with conducting seminars and workshops, such as room rental fees. Although TA activities financed by the JSA can take place in all areas of the world, the Japanese authorities place high priority on funding TA activities in Asia and the Pacific, Central Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, and countries of the former Soviet Union.
Gabon continues to enjoy record high oil prices, buoying both exports and government revenues. The critical medium-term challenge facing Gabon is managing the transition from an economy highly dependent on oil to a diversified economy that harnesses private sector initiative, and makes decisive progress in poverty reduction. The fiscal policy stance requires significant tightening. Raising economic growth and reducing poverty necessitate the acceleration of the structural reform agenda. Fostering transparency is a key ingredient to strengthening governance and accountability in Gabon.
This paper examines how military spending has been affected by Fund-supported programs. It looks at the changes in military expenditure as a share of gross domestic product (MIL/GDP) and of total expenditure (MIL/EX) for two subsamples of Fund-supported programs, broadly divided into fiscal tightening and fiscal accommodating. Under fiscal tightening, the evidence suggests that MIL/GDP decreases during Fund-supported programs, but that MIL/EX increases, revealing resilience to budgetary adjustments. Under fiscal accommodation, as total government expenditure tends to increase, so does military expenditure; however, the ratio MIL/EX declines, as fewer additional resources are allocated to the military.
The IMF, an international organization of currently 185 member countries, was established in 1946 to promote international monetary cooperation, exchange stability, and orderly exchange arrangements; to provide temporary financial assistance to countries with balance of payments difficulties; and to foster economic growth and high levels of employment. To achieve these objectives, the IMF carries out three types of operational activities: surveillance, financial assistance, and technical assistance.
The IMF began to provide technical assistance to its member countries in the early 1960s in response to requests from newly independent nations in Africa and Asia. By the mid-1980s, resources devoted to technical assistance had nearly doubled. As a result of the expansion of the IMF’s membership and the adoption of market-oriented economies by a large number of countries worldwide, IMF TA activities grew even more rapidly in the early 1990s. The demand increased further in the late 1990s as significant TA resources had to be directed to countries hit by financial crisis. In addition, in recent years, the IMF has had to mount significant efforts to provide prompt policy advice and operational assistance to countries emerging from conflict situations. In FY2007 the IMF devoted some 438 person years to TA activities—an increase of more than 13 person years from FY2006 and over 140 person years more than a decade ago.5 The delivery of IMF technical assistance over the period FY2000–FY2007 is shown in Figure 1.