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.
Cheikh A. Gueye, Asithandile Mbelu, and Mr. Amadou N Sy
This paper studies the impact of declining oil prices on banks in sub-Saharan African oil-exporting countries. Results indicate that banks respond differently to an oil shock depending on their ownership: (i) domestic banks are the most adversely impacted and experience a deterioration in asset quality and liquidity; (ii) foreign-owned banks are the most resilient as they are able to improve asset quality and attract deposits but at the same time, they decelerate credit growth; in contrast, (iii) Pan-African Banks help stabilize overall credit but large banks in that segment experience reduced asset quality. These differentiated results suggest a tradeoff between maintaining credit growth and safeguarding financial stability in an oil slump which could be addressed by both micro- and macroprudential policies.
Mr. Francesco Grigoli, Alexander Herman, and Mr. Andrew J Swiston
The decline in oil prices in 2014-16 was one of the sharpest in history, and put to test the resilience of oil exporters. We examine the degree to which economic fundamentals entering the oil price decline explain the impact on economic growth across oil exporting economies, and derive policy implications as to what factors help to mitigate the negative effects. We find that pre-existing fundamentals account for about half of the cross-country variation in the impact of the shock. Oil exporters that weathered the shock better tended to have a stronger fiscal position, higher foreign currency liquidity buffers, a more diversified export base, a history of price stability, and a more flexible exchange rate regime. Within this group of countries, the impact of the shock is not found to be related to the size of oil exports, or the share of oil in fiscal revenue or economic activity.
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.
Economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa as a whole has fallen to its lowest level in 15 years, though with large variation among countries in the region. The sharp decline in commodity prices has severely strained many of the largest economies, including oil exporters Angola and Nigeria, and other commodity exporters, such as Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia. At the same time, the decline in oil prices has helped other countries continue to show robust growth, including Kenya and Senegal. A strong policy response to the terms-of-trade shocks is critical and urgent in many countries. This report also examines sub-Saharan Africa’s vulnerability to commodity price shocks, and documents the substantial progress made in financial develop, especially financial services based on mobile technologies.
This paper examines macroeconomic developments and prospects in low-income developing countries (LIDCs) against the back-drop of a sharp fall in international commodity prices. The focus here—by contrast with IMF (2014a)—is on recent developments and the near-term outlook, recognizing that the new price environment is likely to remain in place for several years to come. The paper also includes a section examining the experience of LIDCs with capital inflows over the past decade.