Africa > Mozambique, Republic of

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Matteo Ruzzante and Nelson Sobrinho
This paper investigates the dynamic impact of natural resource discoveries on government debt sustainability. We use a ‘natural experiment’ framework in which the timing of discoveries is treated as an exogenous source of within-country variation. We combine data on government debt, fiscal stress and debt distress episodes on a large panel of countries over 1970-2012, with a global repository of giant oil, gas, and mineral discoveries. We find strong and robust evidence of a ‘fiscal presource curse’, i.e., natural resources can jeopardize fiscal sustainability even before ‘the first drop of oil is pumped’. Specifically, we find that giant discoveries, mostly of oil and gas, lead to permanently higher government debt and, eventually, debt distress episodes, specially in countries with weaker political institutions and governance. This evidence suggest that the curse can be mitigated and even prevented by pursuing prudent fiscal policies and borrowing strategies, strengthening fiscal governance, and implementing transparent and robust fiscal frameworks for resource management.
Mr. Ramzy Al Amine and Tim Willems
We find that countries which are able to borrow at spreads that seem low given fundamentals (for example because investors take a bullish view on a country's future), are more likely to develop economic difficulties later on. We obtain this result through a two-stage procedure, where a first regression links sovereign spreads to fundamentals, after which residuals from this regression are deployed in a second stage to assess their impact on future outcomes (real GDP growth and the occurrence of fiscal crises). We confirm the relevance of past sovereign debt mispricing in several out-of-sample exercises, where they reduce the RMSE of real GDP growth forecasts by as much as 15 percent. This provides strong support for theories of sentiment affecting the business cycle. Our findings also suggest that countries shouldn't solely rely on spread levels when determining their fiscal strategy; underlying fundamentals should inform policy as well, since historical relationships between spreads and fundamentals often continue to apply in the medium-to-long run.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Republic of Mozambique’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). Mozambique is expected to be significantly affected by the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, dashing prospects of a nascent economic recovery following two powerful tropical cyclones that struck in 2019. The IMF’s emergency financial support under the RCF, along with the additional donor grant financing it will help to catalyze, will contribute to addressing Mozambique’s urgent balance of payments needs generated by the pandemic. The authorities are committed to prevent corruption and misuse of emergency financing, by strengthening transparency and accountability. In this connection, they will publish large public procurement contracts and conduct and publish ex-post audits of funds’ use. Once the pandemic eases, it will be critical to resume fiscal consolidation and strengthened debt management and transparency to ensure that public debt remains sustainable. It will also be important to implement structural reforms to support inclusive and sustainable growth.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Malawi’s Second and Third Reviews Under the Three-Year Extended Credit Facility Arrangement and Requests for Waivers of NonObservance of Performance Criteria and Augmentation of Access. Program-supported structural reforms advanced, addressing several important gaps that had previously been identified in public financial management. All quantitative performance criteria were met except those on the primary balance, which were missed largely due to faster than envisaged implementation of rural electrification and development projects, unexpected spending for disaster relief and to ensure safety during elections and post-election protests. The authorities aim to entrench macroeconomic stability, preserve debt sustainability, and advance governance reforms while attaining higher, more inclusive, and resilient growth. Essential reconstruction and security spending will be accommodated by reprioritizing spending and a modest relaxation in the FY 2019/20 domestic primary balance target. Monetary policy remains targeted on containing inflation and exchange rate flexibility will buffer shocks and preserve competitiveness. Financial sector resilience continues to be strengthened.
Authorities
Mozambique’s economy is at a turning point, and efforts to address governance and corruption vulnerabilities can have a lasting positive impact. The current levels of public debt have caused us to take a hard look at our governance and anti-corruption framework and have prompted various reforms to address the vulnerabilities exposed in this framework. In general, the problems in our society, and specifically corruption, have been examined in detail recently and are clearly macro-critical.2 One study estimated the costs of corruption to Mozambique during the period 2002 to 2014 at up to USD 4.9 billion (approximately 30 percent of the 2014 GDP).3 The impact of these costs is widespread, affecting taxpayers, public service providers, the financial and private sector, as well as Mozambique’s international reputation.4 These costs are especially harmful at a time when our country has been hit by a series of shocks, notably the fall in commodity prices, drought, the withdrawal of donor budget support, and, more recently, Tropical Cyclones Idai and Kenneth. At the same time, Mozambique stands poised to reap significant revenues from natural resource reserves, and our duty as the government is to ensure the responsible stewardship of those funds for both current and future generations. By taking meaningful steps now to implement the governance and anti-corruption framework in an evenhanded, consistent, and effective manner, and to support efforts toward transparency and individual and institutional accountability, as the government, we can aim to achieve enduring results.
Authorities
This Diagnostic Report on Transparency, Governance and Corruption for the Republic of Mozambique highlights that the economy is at a turning point, and efforts to address governance and corruption vulnerabilities can have a lasting positive impact. The current levels of public debt have caused us to take a hard look at our governance and anticorruption framework and have prompted various reforms to address the vulnerabilities exposed in this framework. The governance and anticorruption framework is not consistently or comprehensively enforced. The rule of law is undermined by the insufficient implementation of existing legislation and regulations, including, in some cases through the absence of necessary regulations and explanatory guidelines. Civil society, the private sector, and the development partners in Mozambique also have critical roles to play. In addition, issues related to poor governance and corruption cannot be effectively addressed unless similar attention is paid to their transnational aspects, which need to be handled at a regional and global level, in multilateral and other international fora.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Mozambique’s economic situation had been improving until Tropical Cyclone Idai and Kenneth hit the country in March and April, respectively. Economic growth was recovering gradually and becoming broader based, and inflation reached low single digits. Economic activity is expected to decelerate sharply in 2019 due to the supply shock to productive capacity, but it should rebound to pre-cyclone levels by 2020. In April, the IMF Executive Board approved US$118 million in emergency assistance under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The authorities are committed to macroeconomic stability while fostering inclusive growth and addressing governance challenges.