Middle East and Central Asia > Mauritania, Islamic Republic of

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International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a severe human, economic, and social impact on Mauritania. The economy is estimated to have contracted by about 2 percent in 2020 and the crisis generated large financing needs. The authorities responded swiftly to mitigate the impact of the pandemic while international partners provided grants, loans, and debt service suspension. This, compounded by higher commodity exports (iron ore and gold) and some delays in emergency spending, resulted in unexpected fiscal surpluses and an accumulation of international reserves, which may now be used to support the recovery in 2021–22. The outlook remains highly uncertain and dependent on volatile commodity markets, with sizable downside risks in case new waves of the pandemic spill over into Mauritania.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a severe human, economic, and social impact on Mauritania. The economy is estimated to have contracted by about 2 percent in 2020 and the crisis generated large financing needs. The authorities responded swiftly to mitigate the impact of the pandemic while international partners provided grants, loans, and debt service suspension. This, compounded by higher commodity exports (iron ore and gold) and some delays in emergency spending, resulted in unexpected fiscal surpluses and an accumulation of international reserves, which may now be used to support the recovery in 2021–22. The outlook remains highly uncertain and dependent on volatile commodity markets, with sizable downside risks in case new waves of the pandemic spill over into Mauritania.
Mr. Philippe Beaugrand, Mr. Montfort Mlachila, and Mr. Boileau Loko
The paper reviews the principles and practical considerations involved in the choice between foreign and domestic financing of fiscal deficits, and derives a series of recommendations broadly applicable to Central and West African countries. The paper develops a simple analytical framework and shows that highly concessional external debt is usually a superior choice to domestic debt in terms of financial costs and risks, even in the face of a probable devaluation. The paper stresses the importance of the availability and terms of financing, and of overall long-term debt sustainability. It concludes that these countries need to take a gradual approach to domestic debt financing, beginning with the issuance of short-term bills, and ensure a solid track record of meeting their debt-service obligations.