An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission, led by Mr. Luca Antonio Ricci, conducted the 2022 Article IV consultation talks with the authorities from April 5 to 15.
At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Ricci made the following statement:
“Côte d'Ivoire's economy has remained resilient in the face of the pandemic due to the rapid and well-designed response policies of the Ivorian authorities. COVID-related deaths have been low by international standards, while vaccination efforts continue and about half of the target population have received a first dose so far.
“After a 2 percent slowdown in 2020, economic growth is expected to rebound strongly to an estimated 7 percent in 2021, driven by a pick-up in consumption and investment. Price inflation reached 5.6% in December 2021, mainly reflecting an increase in world prices, before falling slightly to 4.5% in March. The overall fiscal deficit reached 5.1 percent of GDP in 2021, ½ percent of GDP below the budget forecast, mainly due to gains from strengthening the tax administration and ongoing digitization efforts, which in turn offset higher spending on security.
“The deteriorating external environment related to the war in Ukraine is expected to influence the macroeconomic outlook in 2022. IMF staff forecast growth to slow to 6% this year due to subdued global demand, deteriorating terms of trade and greater uncertainty. The authorities have taken a series of temporary measures to contain the effects of the war in Ukraine and preserve food security, including maximum prices for various food products, subsidies for petroleum products and export permit requirements for some staple foods.
“The macroeconomic outlook is favourable, but Côte d'Ivoire still faces external downside risks. These risks stem primarily from the global fallout from the war in Ukraine, tighter monetary policy in advanced countries and the associated rise in the cost of borrowing, as well as continued instability in some neighboring countries. The country also faces upside risks, in particular the recent substantial discovery of oil and gas and a determined implementation of reforms under the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-25 could help boost the medium-term outlook.
“The staff encouraged the authorities to closely assess the impact of the measures that have been taken so far to mitigate the effects of the war in Ukraine and to ensure that such measures do not create market distortions, remain temporary and are well targeted. to the most vulnerable. and remain in line with medium-term fiscal sustainability objectives.
“Staff emphasized the importance of preserving macroeconomic and debt sustainability by properly anchoring expectations. The staff anticipates that, to the extent that the external situation improves, it will remain feasible to achieve the WAEMU convergence criterion of a 3% fiscal deficit target by 2024. Over time, it will also be essential to rebuild the buffers.
“Côte d'Ivoire authorities and IMF staff agreed that continuing to strengthen domestic revenue mobilization is crucial to financing critical spending and improving macroeconomic resilience. Despite recent efforts, tax revenues remain relatively low by international standards. Staff noted the need to continue mobilizing additional domestic resources for priority spending to promote social convergence, as well as to finance critical infrastructure and public services.
“IMF staff welcomed the National Development Plan (NDP) 2021-25 approved in December 2021, which aims to accelerate economic and social transformation. It emphasizes improving the role of the private sector, industrialization, human capital, productivity, and governance. The authorities must continue to improve the business environment and infrastructure, safeguarding property rights, promoting access to credit, and encouraging export diversification. It is also crucial to continue developing sustainable policies for adaptation to climate change and mitigation of associated risks.
“Continuing to improve the provision of public services and deepening social convergence remains essential to support more inclusive and sustainable growth. The authorities made significant efforts under the government social program PSGouv 2019-2020, in particular, expanding access to electricity, drinking water and education throughout the country. However, efforts must continue to improve both the efficiency of spending and access to more efficient public services. In this regard, ongoing efforts to improve access to health care, expand training for health professionals, and strengthen vocational training programs are welcome.
"The IMF team would like to express its appreciation to the authorities and other stakeholders for the open and constructive discussions."
The IMF team met with Prime Minister Patrick Achi; the Minister and Secretary General of the Presidency Abdourahmane Cissé; the Minister of State for Agriculture and Rural Development, Kobenan Kouassi Adjoumani, the Minister of Economy and Finance, Adama Coulibaly; the Minister of Budget and State Assets, Moussa Sanogo; the Minister of Planning and Development, Nialé Kaba; the Minister of Public Services and Modernization of the Administration, Anne Désirée Ouloto; the Minister of Public Health, Sanitation and Universal Health Coverage, Pierre Dimba; the Minister of Mining, Oil and Energy Thomas Camara; Minister for Environment and Sustainable Development Jean-Luc Assi, Minister for Trade and Industry Souleymane Diarrassouba, Minister for Technical and Vocational Training Koffi N'Guessan, National Director of BCEAO Chalouho Coulibaly; and other senior government and BCEAO officials, as well as representatives from the business and donor communities.