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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Despite a more favorable external environment, marked by the rebound in global growth, fast-increasing oil prices, and unprecedented Fund financial support, CEMAC is ending 2021 in a fragile external position. Net external reserves fell throughout 2021 to reach their lowest level in decades, and gross reserves are just above three months of imports of goods and services. The launch of a second phase of the regional strategy at the August 2021 CEMAC Heads of States summit saw renewed commitments to accelerate structural, transparency, and governance reforms. The resumption of program engagements with the Fund, combined with high oil prices and significant fiscal adjustments in 2022, should allow for a turnaround, and the build-up in external reserves is expected to resume in 2022. Risks include possible adverse pandemic developments, oil price volatility, possible fiscal slippages, shortfall in external financing, and security issues.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
CEMAC ended 2021 in a fragile external position, with gross reserves at only 2.7 months of prospective imports and net foreign assets (NFA) at their lowest level in decades, despite the availability of Fund financing, the SDR allocation, and monetary policy tightening. The terms of trade shock this year is expected to be broadly positive for CEMAC. This more favorable outlook is, however, subject to heightened external uncertainties associated with the fallout from the war in Ukraine (notably global inflation pressure, global growth uncertainties, and high oil price volatility), faster-than-anticipated global financial tightening, possible emergence of new COVID strains and risks from cryptoassets. Current high oil prices, if sustained, will help rebuild fiscal and external buffers, provided fiscal policies remain prudent. Shielding vulnerable populations from soaring energy and food prices adds to the complexity of navigating this uncertain environment, given CEMAC’s already limited policy options.
International Monetary Fund. Legal Dept., International Monetary Fund. Monetary and Capital Markets Department, and International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & Review Department
This paper undertakes a comprehensive review of the Fund’s sovereign arrears policies. Staff assesses that the Fund’s Lending into Arrears to Private Creditors (LIA) policy (established in 1989 and last reviewed in 2002) remains broadly appropriate, while recommending some improvements given the experience gained over the last 20 years. Staff also sees merit in codifying the existing practice guiding the Fund in preemptive debt restructurings into a Fund policy, together with an amendment focusing on debt transparency. Given limited experience with the application of the LIOA policy (established in 2015), staff does not propose any amendments but only one restatement confirming current practice. Given recent developments in the international creditor community, staff proposes refining the Fund’s arrears policies with respect to multilateral creditors. Finally, recent developments raise questions about the perimeter between official bilateral and private claims, with significant implications for the Fund’s arrears policies.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the volatility in oil prices, heightened insecurity, and a looming food crisis due to climate change have severely stressed an already vulnerable Chadian economy. The two Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) disbursements in April and July 2020 allowed Chad to meet its immediate financing and urgent balance of payment needs in the early stages of the pandemic. The authorities have requested Fund assistance under the ECF to support their post-COVID recovery and their plan to reduce debt vulnerabilities through a combination of a debt workout and a multi-year fiscal consolidation program. However, due to the death of the president following a resurgence of fighting with rebel groups in April and the delayed delivery of donor support, the treasury situation has become extremely tight, threatening social stability.