The Article IV Consultation with the Kingdom of Swaziland discusses efforts to broaden the tax base and improve tax administration, in particular through the introduction of a value-added tax and the establishment of a Revenue Authority. The depreciation of the nominal exchange rate along with the South African rand, to which it is pegged, impacted positively on the export sector. Prompt and automatic pass-through of international price increases would also help depoliticize price adjustments.
St. Lucia’s 2008 Article IV Consultation underlies that progress has been made in reducing fiscal imbalances, yet public debt and debt servicing payments continue to rise. Tourism accounts for more than three-fourths of exports, and the import content of both consumption and foreign direct investment is high. Although the share of value added from the traditionally dominant agriculture sector has declined sharply in recent decades, crop exports support the incomes of much of the country’s large rural population.
South Africa showed strong macroeconomic performance owing to its sound policies, which aimed at raising economic growth and reducing poverty, within a stable macroeconomic, social, and political environment. Executive Directors commended the strong economic performance, sustainable fiscal policies, and sound debt management that helped to reduce public debt. They appreciated the authorities' efforts on addressing major economic and social challenges while preserving macroeconomic stability. They agreed that the flexible exchange-rate system and sound financial system has helped the country to sustain economic growth.
Economic growth in Swaziland has weakened over the past decade. This 2005 Article IV Consultation highlights that real GDP growth decelerated to 2.1 percent in 2004 and an estimated 1.8 percent in 2005. A prolonged drought affected agricultural output, particularly maize, the main staple crop, and cotton. The authorities completed a “Poverty Reduction Strategy and Action Plan” in October 2004. The document spells out policies with the overall objective of halving the 1995 poverty rate by 2015. However, little progress has been made toward this and other Millennium Development Goals.
The staff report for the 2005 Article IV Consultation on Botswana highlights key issues, recent developments, and policy discussions. The authorities are strengthening their structural reform agenda and moving ahead with sector-specific development programs with a view to sustaining annual growth in the 5–6 percent range as targeted in their current medium-term development plan. The authorities recognized the importance of fiscal adjustment to maintaining macroeconomic stability. They have no plans to move away from the exchange rate peg in the near term, but are exploring their options with regard to the monetary policy framework.
This 2004 Article IV Consultation highlights that Namibia’s real GDP growth accelerated to an estimated 4¼ percent in 2004, after averaging about 3 percent during the preceding five years. Growth benefited from declining interest rates, as the Bank of Namibia took advantage of declining inflation pressures and reduced its key policy rate in several steps from 12¾ percent in January 2003 to 7½ percent in July 2004. Executive Directors have welcomed the recent rise in GDP growth, decline in inflation, and strengthening of the external current account surplus.
This paper examines Lesotho’s Sixth Review Under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) and Request for Waiver of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria. Real GDP growth slowed to 3¼ percent in 2003/04 (April-March) owing to the adverse impact of drought on agricultural output and slower-than-envisaged growth in the construction sector. Fiscal performance in 2003/04 was stronger than envisaged in the program, partly reflecting temporary factors. All quantitative performance criteria for December 2003 and indicative targets for March 2004 were met. The IMF staff supports the key macroeconomic objectives of the authorities’ budget for 2004/05.
Botswana’s 2003 Article IV Consultation reports that Botswana’s core economic database is largely adequate for surveillance, although the quality and timeliness of national accounts and key trade data need to be improved. Financial sector reforms, including a partial privatization of the civil service pension scheme, are an important part of the economic strategy. The increased risk associated with these reforms should be addressed through enhanced supervision of the sector. The authorities are making efforts to strengthen monetary management.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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