IMF Staff Completes Review Mission with Mali

imfA team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Lisandro Abrego, held discussions with the Malian authorities during April 4–19 in Washington, D.C. on the fifth review of Mali’s economic and financial program supported by the IMF under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).
At the conclusion of the discussions, Mr. Abrego issued the following statement:

“Mali’s economy continued to perform strongly in 2015. Real GDP grew by 6 percent, supported by strong performance in the agriculture and services sectors, while inflation remained low at 1 percent. The implementation of the government’s economic program, supported by the ECF, remained strong and all quantitative targets were met, often with wide margins. Tax revenue increased by 1.75 percent of GDP, comfortably exceeding the program target and allowing a reduction in the overall government deficit to 1.8 percent of GDP. The target on the basic fiscal balance was met with a significant margin, leading to a surplus of 0.5 percent of GDP. Other program targets were also observed, including the floor on priority spending, i.e., domestically-financed spending on education, health, and social development.

“The mission welcomes the progress made—including during the first quarter of 2016—in implementing structural reforms, especially in the area of public financial management. Most structural benchmarks set for the program for the fifth review have been observed, albeit with some delays, and some progress was also made in improving tax administration and in moving forward with financial sector reforms.

“The economic outlook for 2016 is favorable. Real GDP growth is projected to remain robust at 5.3 percent, while inflation is expected to stay at about 1 percent. The outlook is, however, subject to some downside risks, stemming mainly from Mali’s fragile security situation.

“The mission welcomes the planned supplementary budget, which targets an increase in tax revenue of 0.75 percent of GDP and an overall fiscal deficit of 4.25 percent of GDP. This budget makes room for additional expenditures to implement the 2015 peace agreement, and incorporates higher public investment and security spending. The program’s structural component includes measures to support revenue growth and strengthen public financial management, as well as other measures to support sustainable long-run economic growth and poverty reduction.

“On this basis, the Fund mission and the authorities reached agreement on the completion of the fifth ECF review. This understanding is subject to the approval of the IMF’s Management and the Executive Board, which is expected to consider the fifth review in June.

“The mission met with Boubou Cissé, Minister of Economy and Finance; Konzo Traoré, National Director, Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO); and other senior government officials.

“The mission thanks the authorities for the frank and fruitful dialogue.”