A 9-month Staff Monitored Program (SMP) combined with a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) of 50 percent of quota (about US$174 million) was approved on March 30, 2021 to address BOP challenges and build a track record towards an upper credit tranche financial arrangement. This followed a disbursement under the RCF in November 2020 of 15 percent of quota (about US$52 million), which was the first-ever financial disbursement from the Fund to South Sudan. Progress has continued in implementing the revitalized peace agreement of 2018: following the formation of a unity government in February 2020 and the appointment of state governors in June 2020, the national parliament was sworn into office in August 2021. The humanitarian situation remains dire, with about 60 percent of the population facing high levels of acute food insecurity.
South Sudan is a very fragile post-conflict country. After five years of civil conflict, the warring parties came to an agreement for power-sharing in September 2018 and formed a unity government in February 2020. However, peace remains fragile in the face of difficult humanitarian and economic conditions. Already very high levels of poverty and food insecurity have been exacerbated by severe flooding in recent months. The floods (the worst in 60 years) have killed livestock, destroyed food stocks, and damaged crops ahead of the main harvest season. South Sudan’s economy has been hit hard by lower international oil prices following the COVID-19 pandemic.
After five years of civil conflict, the warring parties came to a peace agreement in September 2018. Until the COVID-19 crisis broke out, improved political stability and an uptick in international oil prices led to significant progress, with a rebound in economic growth, a decline in inflation, and a stabilization of the exchange rate. The COVID-19 pandemic is severely disrupting South Sudan’s economy, leading to a sharp decline in projected growth (-3.6 percent in FY20/21, about 10 percentage points below the pre-pandemic baseline) and a contraction of oil export proceeds—the main source of exports and fiscal revenue—which has given rise to urgent balance of payments needs and opened a large fiscal financing gap.
Using a panel of 101 low- and middle-income countries with data covering the period 1980-2012, this paper applies various econometric approaches that deal with endogeneity issues to assess the impact of food price shocks on socio-political instability once fiscal policy and remittances have been accounted for. It focuses on import prices to reflect the vulnerability of importer countries / net-buyer households to food price shocks. The paper finds that import food price shocks strongly increase the likelihood of socio-political instability. This effect is greater in countries with lower levels of private credit and income per capita. On the other hand, while remittances seem to dampen the adverse effect of import food price shocks on socio-political instability in almost all countries, the mitigating role of fiscal policy is significant only in countries with low-levels of private credit.
This 2016 Article IV Consultation highlights the rapid deterioration of economic conditions in South Sudan since the beginning of the civil conflict in late 2013. Real GDP growth declined by nearly 20 percent during 2015 and 2016, and annual inflation rose to about 550 percent in September 2016 before declining to 370 percent in January 2017. The medium-term outlook faces challenges and significant downside risks. Without significant progress toward peace and economic stabilization, the economic trajectory for South Sudan is highly unstable, and the country risks spiraling into a trap of deteriorating economic performance and worsening security with continued high humanitarian costs.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
KEY ISSUES Political Context: Sudan is embarking on a difficult national dialogue with the opposition and some armed groups in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan regions. The objective is to break the current destructive cycle of instability and prepare for the upcoming presidential election in 2015. This dialogue, if successful, could help create the conditions needed to address the challenges that emerged after the secession of South Sudan, including sustaining a much-needed broad economic recovery and adjusting the economy to its new potential. The current staff monitored program (SMP) is providing an adequate policy framework and a path in this direction. Macroeconomic situation and outlook: Tight monetary conditions and improved fiscal performance, together with lower food prices, contributed to lower inflation at end-March. However, the curb market exchange rate further depreciated against the U.S. dollar on account of the uncertainties in the oil market triggered by the South Sudan conflict, further widening the gap between the official and curb market rates to more than 50 percent. The outlook for 2014 remains broadly favorable, with growth expected to reach 2.5 percent, and inflation to continue its downward trend to about 18 percent. Program performance: Performance under the SMP through end-March 2014 was affected by adverse shocks and security spillovers. All end-March quantitative benchmarks were met, except for the ones on net international reserves and net domestic assets of the Central Bank of Sudan (CBOS). The indicative targets on social spending and the non-oil primary deficit were also missed by a slight margin. Corrective actions have been taken to ensure that these targets will be met in the second quarter. Urgent measures are needed to address the gap between the official and curb market exchange rates. The authorities have also made good progress toward meeting their end-June structural benchmarks. Risks remain large and tilted to the downside. The uncertain political transition, the volatile domestic oil market, and the fragile security environment may slow down the reform momentum. The recent peace agreement between the warring factions in South Sudan, if implemented, would improve the risk outlook.
International Monetary Fund. Middle East and Central Asia Dept.
This selected issues paper on Sudan was prepared by a staff team of the International Monetary Fund as background documentation for the periodic consultation with the member country. It is based on the information available at the time it was completed on September 7, 2012. The views expressed in this document are those of the staff team and do not necessarily reflect the views of the government of Sudan or the Executive Board of the IMF.
Sudan has been adversely affected by the global crisis through a sharp decline in oil receipts. Executive Directors welcomed the Staff-Monitored Program (SMP), which aimed to reduce the fiscal deficit, tighten monetary stance, and increase exchange rate flexibility. Directors urged the authorities to maintain prudent macroeconomic policies and to accelerate fiscal and financial sectors as well as structural reforms. Directors agreed that progress on debt relief under HIPC for Sudan is essential to remove the debt overhang and regain access to concessional financing for development and social projects.
Inflation followed a strikingly uniform pattern in all countries of the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia during the period 1996-2009, falling until about 2000 and then rising. International fuel prices do not help explain this pattern. This conclusion is robust even when different cross sections of countries are tested or when different regression variables are included. The pattern of inflation is explained mainly by past inflation, the strength of the US dollar, US inflation, and—depending on the subset of countries analyzed—monetary and exchange rate policies and nonfuel commodity prices.
S. M. Ali Abbas, Mr. Kenji Moriyama, and Abdul Naseer
The paper aims to identify the optimal size, speed and composition of the medium-term fiscal adjustment in the context of Sudan's limited oil reserves. The permanently sustainable non-oil primary balance approach suggests the need for significant fiscal adjustment over the medium term, requiring a widening of the tax base. Cross-country comparisons highlight VAT and personal income tax (as well as tax administration) as key areas for reform. The paper also suggests the need for complementary expenditure-side measures in the areas of petroleum pricing and anchoring fiscal policy in non-oil indicators.