August 29, 2016


A new project to support accuracy and improve  Central and West African nations’’ international investment position and external debt statistics was launched Monday by the International Monetary Fund, African Development Bank, and the Government of Japan.

The project, a three-year capacity development project which will benefit 17 Francophone African member countries from both the Central Economic and Monetary African Community and West African Economic Monetary Union, will help governments’ efforts as they work to close data gaps, boost the quality of their external sector and balance payment statistics as well as enhance greater regional economic integration between the two regions.

The IMF said governments and policy makers in beneficiary countries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Central African Republic, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo, will gain better policy analysis and economic decision-making based on results from the project.

The project was launched during the gathering of mid -and -senior-level central bank representatives from the CEMAC and WAEMU countries at the Africa Training Institute workshop in Mauritius.

IMF’s Director of Statistics Department Louis Marc Ducharme, said the project will provide the participant countries with opportunities to discuss common challenges, share experiences, and promote peer-to-peer learning, with a view to enhancing their external sector statistics. “Timely and high-quality external sector statistics are essential for policymakers at both the national and regional levels to better understand countries’ external positions, risks and vulnerabilities as a basis for designing and implementing sound macroeconomic policies.”

Analysts say despite recent drop in GDP outlook for some African countries and the dwindling commodity and oil prices affecting commodity-dependent African countries, sub-Saharan Africa overall has experienced robust [economic] growth and achieved progress in poverty reduction in the last decade through improved macroeconomic management. However, further strengthening of governments’ capacity to implement macroeconomic policies is essential for maintaining the strong economic performance of the continent.

The ATI, which was established by the IMF in 2013, provides high-quality training to senior bank representatives from across Africa in the areas of macro-economic policymaking, public finance, exchange rate and monetary policies, economic integration, and financial sector issues to improve macroeconomic and financial policies through high-quality training, which would support sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa.

Vikram Punchoo, Second Deputy Governor of the Bank of Mauritius, corroborating the advantages of the project, said his country benefited from a similar project, which helped “the Bank of Mauritius further improved the coverage of the balance of payments statistics and started the compilation of its international investment position and external debt,” as well as facilitated the authorities’ subscription to the Special Data Dissemination Standard in 2012.

Last month, the IMF reported that CEMAC’s growth slowed in 2015 to 1.6 percent from 4.9 percent in 2014 due to declines in public investment and lower oil production. As a result, 2016 growth is projected to be 1.9 percent, as oil production and investment remain sluggish. Threat to security in across the region has also contributed economic disruption and under performance.

The IMF said to counter the impacts of oil-price shocks,and other agents, CEMAC’s countries like Chad, which macroeconomic outcomes continue to underperform its potentials due to the major impact of two exogenous shocks: the lower oil prices and the elevated regional insecurity,  Chad has experience a rapid decline of GDP growth in 2015 to 1.8 percent from 6.9 percent in 2014, governments and financial policy makers will need to refocus its policies on fiscal consolidation and real-economy reforms such as fiscal policy coordination and discipline enforcement among members to strengthen, preserve macroeconomic stability, as well as improve the business climate and boosting private investment.

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