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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, The Gambia had shown strong macroeconomic performance in the few years following the remarkable political transition in 2016-17. Economic growth accelerated, debt vulnerabilities decreased, external stability strengthened, structural and legislative reforms advanced, and key social indicators improved. However, the COVID-19 pandemic halted some of the hard-won progress, stagnating economic activity and re-igniting extreme poverty. The Gambia experienced a third wave of the pandemic in mid-2021, which has receded recently. The COVID-19 vaccination rate currently stands at about 12 percent of the adult population. Presidential and parliamentary elections are planned for December 2021 and April 2022, respectively.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2020 Article IV Consultation with Colombia highlights that with the disruptions associated with the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic and with lower oil prices, real gross domestic product (GDP) is projected to contract by 2.4 percent in 2020. In the near term, disruptions associated, directly and indirectly, with the pandemic are expected to generate a recession of -2.4 percent in 2020. Weaker domestic demand from the shutdown efforts is expected to partially offset lower external demand and commodity prices, such that the current account deficit is projected to rise to 4.7 percent of GDP. In the wake of exceptional shocks and risks, recent monetary easing is welcomed by the IMF and accommodation should continue to support the economy if underlying inflation and inflation expectations remain moderate. Continued liquidity support should be provided as required, and available capital buffers in the banking system should be used as needed. All available space under the fiscal rule can be used to meet unforeseen health expenditures and for countercyclical spending to further support the economy through recession.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation with Nicaragua highlights that social unrest and its aftermath eroded confidence and caused large capital and bank deposits outflows that resulted in a prolonged output contraction. Banks cut lending, which exacerbated the downturn. Faced with sharply lower revenues and a severe tightening in available financing, including on account of sanctions, the government was forced to cut spending and adopt a procyclical tax package. The economy is projected to continue to contract in the near term as it adjusts to weaker confidence and lower external financing. The sharp contraction in credit will continue to depress investment, and the tight fiscal and external financing situation will continue to drag down medium-term growth. The key risks relate to further erosion in confidence and renewed deposit outflows. The imposition of additional sanctions by trading partners could also heighten economic stress. It is recommended to maintain a conservative fiscal stance in 2020 remains the key to maintain macroeconomic stability. Curbing expenditures on goods and services will allow increased spending on social programs, social safety nets, and public investment, which would lead to more equitable and sustainable growth.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation highlights that Aruba’s economic recovery continues, although at a slowing pace. The authorities have managed well the impact of the crisis in Venezuela through diversification of product markets and tourism sources. Nonetheless, a deepening of the crisis is a downside risk—mainly through a potentially sizable influx of immigrants and refugees. It is recommended to identify additional reform measures to achieve Aruba’s fiscal targets. These measures should involve a mix of revenue increases and expenditure restraint, and be prioritized, sequenced, equitable, and well-communicated to minimize implementation risks and ensure the measures’ durability. The government devised a reform agenda with fiscal consolidation as a key pillar. Additional measures are needed to achieve the authorities’ fiscal targets. The additional adjustment should contain a mix of tax reforms and expenditure rationalization. The fiscal measures in 2019 are expected to deliver a large upfront increase in revenues but it will be important to strike a balance between revenue increases and expenditure restraint in subsequent years.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2019 Article IV Consultation discusses Colombia’s economy that is improving drastically and is supported by very strong policy frameworks and well-executed policies. The recovery is gaining momentum and external imbalances have widened. Despite weaker-than-expected external demand, activity is expected to accelerate in 2019. Rebounding investment, continued policy support, and substantial migration from Venezuela are expected to lift growth to 3.6 percent while the current account deficit is expected to remain wide. The authorities expect the recovery to gather momentum in 2019 and inflation to remain close to target. Structural reforms are needed to boost inclusive growth and enhance external competitiveness. Addressing infrastructure gaps, strengthening governance and the rule of law, reducing informality, and enhancing customs and other trade practices are crucial. The draft National Development Plan rightly identifies key priorities and lays out a roadmap for reforms.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Weak growth and underlying structural vulnerabilities persist in both Curaçao and Sint Maarten. Worsened macroeconomic conditions—reflecting the spillovers from one of Curaçao’s largest trading partners and the devastation from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in Sint Maarten—make the need for policy adjustment and structural reforms aimed at ensuring fiscal sustainability, enhancing competitiveness, strengthening investor confidence, and developing capacity more urgent.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that in 2018, Dominica’s output is projected to decline by 14 percent and to take about 5 years to recover to pre-hurricane levels. The fall in output and government revenue, coupled with increased expenditure for rehabilitation and reconstruction, will lead to a substantial worsening of fiscal and external deficits. However, signs of recovery, particularly in construction and the public sector, have already started to emerge. The risks to the outlook include the budget becoming financially constrained and unable to sustain adequate investment given high debt, limited buffers, weak revenue, and urgent needs for reconstruction spending. Other risks include financial instability stemming from undercapitalization of systemic financial institutions, recurrent natural disasters, and external competitiveness challenges.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2018 Article IV Consultation highlights that Colombia’s outlook is favorable as continued efforts to advance the structural reforms will foster economic diversification and productivity growth. In 2017, adequate policy management brought Colombia near completion of its adjustment to large external shocks while further advancing inclusive growth. Economic growth moderated as private investment and consumption weakened in line with lower national income. Economic growth is expected to rebound strongly in 2018 and further over the medium-term, led by strengthening investment and exports. The combined impact of the structural tax reform, a brighter outlook for oil prices and the authorities Fourth Generation infrastructure agenda will underpin investment while reducing Colombia’s relatively large infrastructure gap.
International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This 2017 Article IV Consultation highlights the expansion of Guyana’s real economic activity by 3.3 percent in 2016. Subdued agricultural commodity prices, bad weather, and delays in public investment weighed down activity, while large increases in gold output helped support growth. Consumer prices increased by 1.5 percent in the 12 months ending in December 2016 as weather-related shocks to food prices reversed the deflationary trend. The macroeconomic outlook is positive for 2017 and the medium term. Growth is projected at 3.5 percent in 2017, supported by an increase in public investment, continued expansion in the extractive sector, and a recovery in rice production.