International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
Trinidad and Tobago faced unprecedented challenges in 2020–21. The combined effects of COVID-19 and energy production and price shocks pushed the economy further into recession. A decisive policy response helped contain the virus spread and protect lives and livelihoods. The fiscal position worsened due to significant tax revenues shortfalls, pushing public debt up. The vaccination pace accelerated recently, but vaccine hesitancy remains high, amid a potential new wave of infections.
The Gabonese economy was gradually recovering from the 2014 oil price shock when it was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Decisive confinement measures have helped save lives, but the pandemic and the fall in oil prices have severely hit the economy, increasing unemployment and poverty. With a weak economy and increased COVID-19 related spending, the fiscal deficit has widened, with a sharp increase in public debt. Emergency financing from the IMF through the Rapid Financing Instrument (US$299.61 million) helped meet urgent balance of payment needs in 2020. Growth is expected to resume in 2021 but the pandemic has made the economic outlook very challenging and generated sizable financing needs over the medium term.
Ghana has been hit hard by the pandemic. The government’s proactive response helped contain the spread of COVID-19, protecting lives and limiting the impact on economic activity. However, partly because of the pandemic, the fiscal position worsened considerably last year, with a sharp increase in public sector debt.
The ending of the civil war has brought to the fore the need to reconstruct the Angolan economy and address the problem of widespread poverty. A strong medium-term fiscal adjustment effort, including a reduction of the National Bank of Angola's operational deficit, is needed. The government should pursue a much more prudent foreign borrowing policy to avoid a worsening of the external debt burden. A tighter macroeconomic policy accompanied by a decisive structural reform is needed to foster economic diversification, create employment opportunities, and increase productivity.