An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited Abidjan during March 11-26, 2014, to conduct discussions on the fifth review of Côte d'Ivoire's economic and financial program supported by an arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF).1
At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Michel Lazare, Assistant Director in the IMF's African Department, issued the following statement:
"Côte d'Ivoire's economic and financial program remains on track. Macroeconomic performance continued to be impressive in 2013, with economic activity expanding by an estimated 8.7 percent, close to the government's objective. Inflation remained subdued at some 2½ percent. Budget execution was better than anticipated in 2013, with the basic primary deficit estimated at CFAF 11.7 billion compared to CFAF 44 billion under the program. All quantitative performance criteria and indicative targets at end 2013 under the ECF arrangement were met, except for the quantitative target on the amount of floating debt.
"The macroeconomic prospects for 2014 remain positive, with a vigorous growth rate and low inflation expected. This outlook is partly dependant on rising private investment as well as adequate external financing to allow public investment to rise to close to 8 percent of GDP, consistent with the level envisaged in the 2012-2015 National Development Plan.
"Clear progress has been made recently in the implementation of structural reforms, especially to improve the business climate as indicated by the improvement in Cote d'Ivoire's ranking in the World Bank 2014 report on "Doing Business". Delays however have been encountered in some areas. The mission welcomes the authorities' commitment to finalize and adopt shortly a medium-term wage bill strategy, a financial sector reform strategy, a public bank restructuring plan and measures to strengthen public financial management.
"Continued strong macroeconomic performance and further progress on the government's structural reform program is necessary to support GDP growth, improve living standards including of the most vulnerable segments of the population, and allow Côte d'Ivoire to transform itself into an emerging economy.
"Upon approval by the IMF's management and Executive Board, conclusion of this fifth program review will allow disbursement of SDR 48.78 million (about US$74 million or CFAF 35 billion) under the ECF arrangement. Executive Board consideration is expected at the beginning of June 2014.
"The IMF team thanks the authorities for their hospitality and for the constructive discussions."
The mission met and had constructive discussions with [H.E. Dr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire]; H.E. Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance; H.E. Dr. Albert Toikeusse Mabri, State Minister for Planning and Development; H.E. Ms. Niale Kaba, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office in charge of Economy and Finance; H.E. Mr. Abdourahmane Cisse, Minister at the Prime Minister's Office in charge of the Budget; H.E. Mr. Adama Toungara, Minister of Petroleum and Energy; H.E. Mr. Jean-Louis Billon, Minister of Trade, Handicraft and Small and Medium Size Businesses; H.E. Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, Minister of Industry and Mines; Mr. Jean-Baptiste Aman Ayayé, National Director of the Central Bank of West African States; other senior government officials, as well as members of civil society, and representatives of the business and donor communities.
1 The arrangement was approved by the IMF Executive Board on November 4, 2011 (see Press Release No. 11/399) in the amount of SDR 390.24 million (about US$616 million or CFAF 290 billion).