But the task is far from finished. Mali has a fast-growing population and largely untapped economic and human potential. The challenge today is to strengthen economic fundamentals to accelerate growth and job creation, and to make an even more meaningful dent in poverty by ensuring that growth is inclusive.
Unlocking Mali's potential will require significant investment not only in infrastructure but also in the country's biggest asset—its people—through education and health. Equipping young Malian people with the appropriate skills and tools will be key in boosting the growth potential of the economy
Throughout all the challenges of recent years, the IMF has always been a close partner of Mali. We were among the first to provide emergency funding after last year's events, and last month we approved financing through our Extended Credit Facility. Our commitment is unwavering to help Mali reach its development objectives.
With this in mind, I would like to share with you my thoughts on three issues likely to shape Mali's economic prospects in the near term:
- The global economic environment;
- The outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa; and
- Finally, the policy agenda that will enable Mali to seize the opportunity to create strong, sustainable and inclusive growth.
1. Global Economic Environment
First, the global economic environment. Our revised forecasts on the global outlook will be released in a few weeks, so I will not be discussing numbers, but only trends..
Five years after the financial crisis, the world economy is gradually on the mend. But the recovery is uneven and subdued, and its underlying dynamics are shifting.
Driven by robust private sector activity, growth in the United States is gaining ground, implying an eventual normalization in financial conditions. In Japan, there have been important steps to stimulate growth. And Europe is slowly emerging from a deep recession, though important challenges remain to be addressed.
At the same time, emerging market economies are slowing, following several years in which they were the main engine of global growth. As financial conditions in advanced economies normalize, the risk of heightened volatility in financial markets may create new challenges in emerging market economies and further slowdown their growth. There is also the risk of potential spillovers to countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly those that are more financially integrated with the global economy (including from higher commodity prices and foreign direct investment flows).