On December 16, 2019, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the fourth and fifth reviews of Gabon's economic program supported by an extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility [i] . Completion of the review enables an immediate disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR89.34 million (about US$123.5million). Today's Executive Board brings total disbursements under the arrangement so far to an amount equivalent to SDR375.06 million (about US$518.5 million).
In completing the fourth and fifth reviews, the Executive Board also approved the authorities' request for waiver of nonobservance of performance criteria pertaining to the claims of the banking system and of the central bank on the central government, as well as waiver of non-observance of a performance criterion pertaining to external payments arrears; and a rephasing of purchase under the program.
Gabon's three-year extended arrangement supported by the IMF was approved by the Executive Board on June 19, 2017 (see Press Release No. 17/233 ) for a total amount equivalent to SDR 464.4 million (about US$642 million at the time of approval), the equivalent of 215 percent of Gabon's quota. The government's reform program aims to restore macroeconomic stability and lay the foundation for inclusive growth. It also seeks to attain debt sustainability at the national level and contribute to the external stability of the Central African Economic and Monetary Union (CEMAC).
Following the Executive Board discussion, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement:
"Gabon's performance under the program supported by the IMF's Extended Fund Facility Arrangement has been broadly satisfactory. Macroeconomic conditions have continued to improve, with growth slowly picking-up, fiscal and external positions improving, and public debt declining. Going forward, bold and ambitious reforms are needed to generate higher, more inclusive, and resilient growth.
"Efforts should continue to further boost domestic revenue and contain non-priority spending, while protecting investment and enhancing social protection. Improving public finance management and the efficiency of public investment is also important for growth prospects.
"Sustained implementation of structural reforms is critical. Efforts to close infrastructure gaps, improve human capital, deepen financial intermediation, clear domestic arrears, and enhance governance and anti-corruption measures are necessary to improve the business climate and achieve higher and inclusive growth.
"Gabon's program is supported by the implementation of supportive policies and reforms by the CEMAC regional institutions in the areas of foreign exchange regulations, the monetary policy framework, and increasing regional net foreign assets, which are critical to the program's success."
[i] The Extended Fund Facility (EFF) was established to provide assistance to countries: (i) experiencing serious payments imbalances because of structural impediments; or (ii) characterized by slow growth and an inherently weak balance of payments position. It provides assistance in support of comprehensive programs that include policies of the scope and character required to correct structural imbalances over an extended period.