This is the tenth and final review of Rwanda’s PSI-program, approved by the Executive Board on December 2, 2013. A concurrent 18-month SCF arrangement was approved on June 8, 2016 to support adjustment policies to eliminate external imbalances. The PSI-supported program was extended three times, on: June 8, 2016; November 19, 2017; and January 12, 2018. When it expires on December 1, 2018, the program will have reached its maximum 5-year limit. Recent Developments. After a dip in 2016–17, real GDP growth has been recovering over the past four quarters. Growth averaged 8.6 percent in the first half of 2018 and, despite a temporary deceleration in Q2, remains in line with projections for 7.2 percent for the year. Growth in the medium term should remain at or higher than historical averages, based on a strong pipeline of tourism and business tourism, new mining operations, more resilient agriculture, new and more diversified exports, and construction of a new airport. Inflation remains low, and expectations within targeted ranges. External balances and reserve buffers continued to improve, while the financial sector remains healthy.
liquidity in the face of increased vulnerabilities calls for enhancing the liquidity support provided through the global financial safety net (GFSN). The global economy is experiencing a period of protracted uncertainty, marked by frequent episodes of volatility. Demand for liquidity has intensified, in particular from emerging markets, which are experiencing a build-up of vulnerabilities and the depletion of their fiscal buffers. The enhanced GFSN meets only partially this higher demand for liquidity. The IMFC and G20 have called on the Fund to further strengthen the safety net. The uneven use of the Fund’s toolkit for crisis prevention suggests the need to reconsider its design. Despite a major overhaul of the Fund’s lending instruments available for precautionary financing, only a modest number of countries have used them. In particular, the lack of access to a liquidity backstop for members with strong policies—similar to the standing bilateral swap arrangements (BSAs) among central banks—limits the availability of Fund support over the whole duration of the shock during protracted periods of global uncertainty. Moreover, the need to resort to Fund financing still carries a high political cost (stigma) for some members. To enhance further the Fund’s toolkit for crisis prevention, consideration could be given to revisiting the existing toolkit and introducing new instruments. The toolkit could thus be enhanced by: establishing a new facility for precautionary financing that would provide a "standing" liquidity backstop to members with strong fundamentals and policies for use when hit by liquidity shocks; and adjusting the existing toolkit to maintain cohesion. Any change to the Fund toolkit would need to take into account the tradeoffs between reducing stigma and containing moral hazard, while simultaneously safeguarding Fund resources. A Fund policy monitoring instrument could improve the cohesion of the global safety net. As the GFSN has expanded and become more multi-layered, there is a need to improve cooperation across the different layers to unlock financing and signal commitment to reforms. Creating a policy monitoring instrument that is available to all Fund members could help in this regard. Next steps . In light of Directors’ views on these points, staff could come back with subsequent papers that lay out specific and detailed proposals for reforming the lending toolkit. While these papers focus on the GRA lending toolkit, a separate forthcoming paper will assess some aspects of the concessional lending toolkit.
Mr. Emre Alper, Ms. Wenjie Chen, Mr. Jemma Dridi, Mr. Herve Joly, and Mr. Fan Yang
This paper assesses the extent of economic and financial integration among the East African Community (EAC) along a number of dimensions and, where possible, whether integration has increased in the wake of the major regional integration policy milestones.
This Selected Issues paper aims at identifying some of the main channels of transmission through which political instability feeds and foster fragility and provide an estimate of the “fragility gap” that haunts the Bissau-Guinean society. This paper argued that, until today, due to chronic political instability, Guinea-Bissau has been in a costly fragility trap. This analytical piece argues that the major factor behind Guinea-Bissau’s fragility has been the chronic political instability. It also uncovers some of the main transmission channels from political instability to fragility and provides simple estimates about the cost of instability. Estimates based on reasonable assumptions reveal that, considering only Guinea-Bissau’s post-war period, without chronic political instability real GDP per capita could have been at least two thirds higher than its 2013 level. This assessment shows the crucial importance of the security sector reform. It also shows that the current estimated cost of the security sector reform is modest in comparison, since it puts into perspective its monetary costs—which are easy to calculate and mostly frontloaded—vis-à-vis its wide and deep benefits, which are not as explicit and accrue over time.
The October 2013 Regional Economic Outlook: Sub-Saharan Africa provides a comprehensive report on the prospects for growth in the region, as well as the major risks to the outlook. Generally, growth is expected to remain strong despite a downward revision since the May 2013 report. The report analyzes drivers of growth in nonresource-rich sub-Saharan African countries, and examines the risks to frontier market economies of volatile capital flows as they become more integrated with international capital markets.
Yasemin Bal Gunduz, Mr. Christian H Ebeke, Ms. Burcu Hacibedel, Ms. Linda Kaltani, Ms. Vera V Kehayova, Mr. Chris Lane, Mr. Christian Mumssen, Miss Nkunde Mwase, and Mr. Joseph Thornton
This paper aims to assess the economic impact of the IMF’s support through its facilities for low-income countries. It relies on two complementary econometric analyses: the first investigates the longer-term impact of IMF engagement—primarily through successive medium-term programs under the Extended Credit Facility and its predecessors (and more recently the Policy Support Instrument)—on economic growth and a range of other indicators and socioeconomic outcomes; the second focuses on the role of IMF shock-related financing—through augmentations of Extended Credit Facility arrangements and short-term and emergency financing instruments—on short-term macroeconomic performance.
International Monetary Fund. Independent Evaluation Office
The Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) evaluation on International Reserves: IMF Concerns and Country Perspectives was discussed by the Board in December 2012. This evaluation examined the IMF’s analysis of the effect of reserves on the stability of the international monetary system and its advice on reserve adequacy assessments in the context of bilateral surveillance. In the multilateral context, the evaluation acknowledged the IMF’s broader work stream on the international monetary system but noted that this work had not sufficiently informed the analysis and recommendations regarding reserves. The IEO evaluation of The Role of the IMF as Trusted Advisor was discussed by the Board in February 2013. This evaluation found that perceptions of the IMF had improved, but that they varied markedly by region and country type. Recognizing that there will always be an inherent tension between the IMF’s roles as a global watchdog and as a trusted advisor to member country authorities, the evaluation report explored how the IMF could sustain the more positive image it had achieved in the aftermath of the recent global crisis. The evaluation found that among key challenges facing the IMF were improving the value added and relevance of IMF advice and overcoming the perception of a lack of even-handedness.
The concomitant external shocks experienced in 2008-09 by the East African Community (EAC) countries of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda and stepped-up support by the IMF—including the SDR allocation—and other donors, are likely to arouse renewed interest in the question of the adequate level of international reserves. This paper discusses the evolution of reserve holdings in EAC countries and uses several tools for assessing reserve adequacy in the region. The analysis suggests that reserve levels in most cases seem to include safety buffers, and thus, do not require immediate action. However, the situation could become tighter if export recovery is delayed or export prices do not pick up. Over the medium term, the desirable reserve path should also be adapted to regional and international integration.
This paper presents an Ex Post Assessment of Longer-Term Program Engagement for Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone has had almost continuous involvement with IMF programs since 1994 under a variety of arrangements. All the IMF-supported programs in Sierra Leone during 1994–2004 had the same overarching aim of raising long-term growth and reducing poverty. Their near-term objectives, however, varied with existing circumstances. Each of the programs emphasized disciplined macroeconomic policies and structural reforms. Performance relative to program objectives improved over time and was the strongest under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.
International Monetary Fund. External Relations Dept.
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