This report reviews the discussions between the IMF and the regional institutions of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). It highlights that the economic activity in the WAEMU remains strong but vulnerabilities persist. Despite lower terms of trade, social tensions, and security challenges within the region, real GDP growth is estimated to have exceeded 6 percent in 2017, underpinned by strong domestic demand. The outlook remains positive but hinges critically on the planned fiscal consolidation and implementation of structural reforms by member countries. Growth is projected to stay above 6 percent with continued low inflation over the medium term. Risks are tilted to the downside.
The paper reviews trends and developments in the rapidly growing local currency debt markets in the WAEMU. The main findings are that common institutions, such as a regional central bank and securities exchange have led to high cross-border transactions within the union. However, excess liquidity in the regional banking system has led to limited credit differentiation among issuers and a reliance on supply and demand conditions as a key determinant of yields. The paper also discusses a number of policy issues, including debt management, that are likely to emerge as the markets for government securities continue to develop.