IMF satisfied with Gambia programme, approves extension

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Issued: Tuesday 26 March 2018

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has commended The Gambia’s performance under the Staff Monitored Programme (SMP) as broadly satisfactory.

In a media dispatch last night following the conclusion of the Article IV consultation with The Gambia on March 22, 2018, the IMF said the Gambian authorities’ commitment to the staff-monitored programme (SMP) remains strong.

Under the Programme, Gambia is reported to have made good progress in implementing “the structural agenda despite severe capacity constraints.”

As a result, the authorities’ request for an extension of the SMP by six months to end-September 2028 has been approved.

“This will provide more time to establish a track record of performance for the transition to an arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) to which the authorities aspire,” the release stated.

Below is the full text of the release:

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2017 Article IV Consultation; and Completion of the First Review under and Extension of the Staff monitored Program with The Gambia

March 23, 2018

On March 22, 2018, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with The Gambia.

The Gambian economy has started to recover, following the sharp growth slowdown in 2016. For 2017, economic growth is estimated at 3.5 percent with a better agricultural season and a strong rebound of tourism and trade. Headline inflation has declined from 8.8 percent in January 2017 to 6.4 percent in January 2018, reflecting the stabilization of the dalasi and a gradual decrease in food prices. With much-improved fiscal discipline and external financial support, the Dalasi has remained stable since April and gross international reserves increased from 1.6 months of import cover at end-2016 to 2.9 months at end-2017. The Executive Board also granted a waiver.

The authorities’ commitment to the staff-monitored program (SMP) is strong. Performance under the program was broadly satisfactory, including good progress in implementing the structural agenda despite severe capacity constraints. The Managing Director approved the authorities’ request for an extension of the SMP by six months to end-September 2018. This will provide more time to establish a track record of performance for the transition to an arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) to which the authorities aspire.

Over the medium term, The Gambia can achieve a more robust growth path. This will require continued strong policy implementation and effective fiscal reforms, including ensuring debt sustainability. The authorities are committed to further national development through the planned strong expansion of reliable and affordable electricity by 2020, and increasing the economy’s productivity by promoting irrigation and commercial agriculture, light manufacturing, tourism, and continued infrastructure investment.

Author: Sanna Camara