IMF Staff Concludes Visit to Mali for ECF Review and Article IV Consultation

GDP growth remained robust, at 5.3 percent supported by good harvests and robust public spending. Inflation was subdued, well below the regional ceiling.

The IMF staff and the authorities agreed on measures to maintain debt sustainability, while making space for financing the poverty reduction strategy.

Reforms to improve governance and remove obstacles to investment are essential.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Ms. Boriana Yontcheva visited Bamako from October 29 to November 12, 2017, to conduct discussions on the Eighth review of Mali’s economic and financial program supported by the Fund’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF), and the 2017 Article IV consultations.

At the end of the visit, Ms. Yontcheva made the following statement:

Mali’s economic recovery continued in 2017 amid persistent security challenges. GDP growth remained robust, at 5.3 percent supported by good harvests and robust public spending. Inflation was subdued, well below the regional ceiling. The fiscal outturn is in line with programs targets of an overall deficit of 3.5 percent of GDP and a basic deficit of 1.1 owing to improved revenue mobilization, and under execution of capital spending. The macroeconomic outlook remains broadly positive, but the economy faces increasing downside risks going forward, notably due to the volatile security situation.

The 2018 budget submitted to the parliament is in line with the fiscal consolidation path of the program, and the goal of converging to the WAEMU’s regional deficit norm of 3 percent by 2019.

The team and the authorities agreed on measures to maintain debt sustainability, while making space for financing the poverty reduction strategy. The authorities intend to boost revenue mobilization by accelerating tax and customs administration reforms and developing more effective international taxation rules. On the spending side, they are seeking to improve public expenditure efficiency by reforming public investment management and streamlining nonpriority spending. They will implement sound debt policies by stepping-up efforts to secure concessional financing and using the most cost-effective debt instruments for securities’ issuance on the regional market.

The team and the authorities agreed on the need to accelerate the pace of implementation of structural reforms to promote a dynamic private sector-driven economy, improve competitiveness, including by removing structural bottlenecks, and strengthening the financial sector to bolster its contribution to economic growth.

Reforms to improve governance and remove obstacles to investment are essential. As envisaged under the program, discussions covered progress on anticorruption efforts and notably on the implementation of the law against illicit enrichment and asset declarations. While good progress has been made in building understandings on the key elements of these measures, further progress is needed to meet the governance reform objectives. Discussions will continue in the coming weeks to advance the reform agenda and pave the way for the completion of the eighth review.

The staff team thanks the authorities for their hospitality and the constructive discussions.rdquo;

The team met with the Minister of Economy and Finance, Dr. Boubou Cisseacute;; the Minister of Decentralization and Local Taxation, Mr. Alassane Ag Ahmed Moussa, National Director of the Central Bank of West African States, Konzo Traoreacute;, senior government officials, the private sector, trade unions, and development partners.

Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF).