En dépit d’une situation sécuritaire qui se dégrade, les performances économiques du pays restent bonnes, avec une croissance alerte et, plus récemment, un recul visible du taux de pauvreté. L’agriculture et les services ont bien résisté à l’instabilité ambiante et permettent de tabler sur un taux de croissance de 5,8 % en 2016 (contre 6 % en 2015). Malgré l’accord de paix de 2015, le gouvernement peine toujours à regagner le contrôle sur les régions septentrionales et l’insécurité se propage au Centre et au Sud.
La croissance du secteur primaire a progressé, de 6,9 à 7,6 % entre 2015 et 2016, portée par de bonnes performances agricoles et une pluviométrie favorable, tandis que le secteur tertiaire a confirmé sa robustesse (avec une croissance avoisinant les 6 % depuis 2014) à la faveur du dynamisme retrouvé des télécommunications. Côté demande, la consommation privée a rebondi de 5,1 % sous le double effet de la hausse des revenus agricoles en milieu rural et de la stabilité des prix alimentaires en ville. La formation brute de capital fixe a fortement progressé, de 14,9 %, conséquence des efforts du gouvernement pour remédier aux déficits d’infrastructures, notamment dans le cadre de l’accord de paix.
La chute des prix alimentaires et l’atonie des cours internationaux de pétrole expliquent le taux d’inflation négatif, à -1,8 %. Le tassement des cours de l’or et la hausse des importations consécutive aux investissements publics ont creusé le déficit courant, passé de 5,3 % du PIB en 2015 à 7,3 % en 2016 et financé par les apports nets de capitaux (aide et investissements directs étrangers pour l’essentiel). Plombées par l’affaiblissement de la position extérieure, les réserves de change ont fondu. En 2016, la masse monétaire au sens large a augmenté de 6,4 %.
Les investissements massifs décidés par le gouvernement ont contribué à la dégradation des finances publiques : le déficit budgétaire global (dons compris) s’est aggravé, passant de 1,8 % du PIB en 2015 à 4 % en 2016, sous l’effet de la hausse des dépenses de l’État qui n’a pu être compensée par le net redressement des recettes intérieures. L’augmentation des dépenses d’investissement a provoqué une hausse brutale des dépenses publiques et du montant net des prêts au gouvernement central, à 22,4 % du PIB (contre 20,9 % en 2015). L’optimisation de la fiscalité frappant les carburants et les réformes visant à élargir l’assiette fiscale et à rationaliser les exemptions d’impôt ont entraîné une augmentation des recettes fiscales correspondant à 1 % du PIB.
Le risque de surendettement reste modéré mais la dette publique s’est alourdie de 3 % du PIB entre 2014 et 2016. Le Mali faisant partie de l’Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine (UEMOA), c’est la Banque centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO) qui gère la politique monétaire, veillant au maintien de la parité entre le franc CFA et l’euro avec l’appui du Trésor public français.
En décembre 2016, la BCEAO a porté le taux d’intérêt de la facilité de prêt marginal à 4,5 % (contre 3,5 % auparavant), renchérissant ce faisant le coût des fonds souverains sur le marché régional — une mesure qu’elle a atténuée en mars 2017 en ramenant le ratio des fonds propres obligatoires de 5 à 3 %.
À moyenne échéance, la croissance du Mali devrait rester soutenue, autour de 5 %, ce qui est conforme au taux de croissance potentiel à long terme du pays. L’agriculture bénéficie de conditions météorologiques propices et des retombées positives de la réforme des subventions à l’achat d’intrants. Le dynamisme du secteur marchand, des télécommunications et du transport devrait se confirmer. Et tant que la production agricole contient toute nouvelle flambée des prix alimentaires, l’inflation devrait rester modérée.
Côté demande, les investissements pourraient augmenter avec l’entrée en application de la loi sur les partenariats public-privé et l’opérationnalisation du Fonds de développement durable pour les projets régionaux, notamment dans le Nord du pays. Le déficit courant, attendu à 8,4 % du PIB en 2017, devrait progressivement se contracter autour des 6,5 % sous l’effet des politiques d’assainissement budgétaire envisagées. Il sera financé par les investissements directs étrangers et des emprunts extérieurs.
La poursuite des efforts d’assainissement budgétaire (rationalisation des dépenses courantes et optimisation du recouvrement des impôts) devrait ramener le déficit budgétaire à 3 % du PIB en 2019, contre 4,3 % en 2016. Mais la viabilité de la dette pourrait pâtir du durcissement des conditions financières (notamment la baisse des transferts de fonds, des investissements directs étrangers et des cours des produits de base).
Perspectives économiques au Mali
Groupe de la Banque africaine de développement (BAD)
Performance économique et perspectives
Entre 2014 et 2015, la croissance du PIB réel a atteint une moyenne de 6,5 %, avant de ralentir à 5,8 % en 2016. Ce déclin devrait se poursuivre jusqu’à 5,5 % en 2017 vraisemblablement en raison de la contreperformance du secteur primaire (38 % du PIB) causée par une mauvaise campagne agricole. À moyen terme, les perspectives économiques restent positives avec des taux de croissance du PIB réel projetés à 5 % pour 2018 et 4,9 % pour 2019. L’économie reste toutefois confrontée à un risque de baisse, notamment en raison de la fragilité de la situation sécuritaire.
Indicateurs macroéconomiques – Évolution
Le déficit budgétaire s’est établi à 3,1 % du PIB en 2016 et est estimé à 3,5 % pour 2017. Les recettes fiscales en part du PIB devraient augmenter de 0,3 points de pourcentage grâce à la poursuite des efforts de modernisation des administrations fiscales et d’élargissement de l’assiette fiscale. L’inflation est estimée à 2 % en 2017 contre -1,8 % en 2016, moins que le seuil de 3 % fixé par l’Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine.
Le déficit du compte courant est estimé à 7 % du PIB en 2017 contre 7,1 % en 2016, et devrait continuer à diminuer à 5,7 % en 2018, grâce à l’amélioration des termes de l’échange, qui devraient passer de -6,4 % en 2017 à -0,1 % en 2018. L’encours de la dette publique devrait légèrement augmenter à 31,8 % du PIB en 2017, en grande partie à cause de l’augmentation de la dette intérieure, de 7 % en 2015 à environ 15 % en 2017. La plus récente analyse de la soutenabilité de la dette (juillet 2017) indique un risque de surendettement modéré.
La mobilisation des recettes fiscales, douanières et domaniales continue d’être au cœur des réformes des finances publiques visant à assurer au mieux le financement des besoins, sans cesse croissants, de développement du pays. Par ailleurs, le Gouvernement a fait de la décentralisation budgétaire une de ses priorités, en mettant un accent sur, d’une part, la mise en œuvre de projets structurants de développement régionaux dans le cadre des contrats plans État-région, soutenus par un transfert des compétences et ressources nécessaires et, d’autre part, une responsabilisation accrue des régions. Les transferts de ressources ont été de 22,9 % des recettes budgétaires en 2016 et sont estimés à 23,4 % pour 2017.
Malgré la reprise économique et les efforts de restauration progressive de la capacité de l’État à fournir les services sociaux de base, il demeure trois défis majeurs. Premièrement, l’amélioration durable de la situation sécuritaire reste un grave problème, alors qu’elle est un facteur indispensable au développement. Deuxièmement, il est impératif pour le développement du secteur privé d’améliorer la gouvernance dans la gestion publique en mobilisant mieux les ressources destinées aux besoins croissants d’investissements ; en renforçant la qualité de la dépense publique et la répartition équitable des ressources entre les régions du pays et les secteurs prioritaires ; et en assurant la transparence dans la passation des marchés publics. Enfin, étant donné les contraintes imposées par la fragilité structurelle de l’économie et la forte croissance démographique (3,6 %), la réalisation d’une croissance économique forte et inclusive constitue également un défi.
MALI – SEVENTH REVIEW
The International Monetary Fund
Mali is a fragile state, struggling with insurgency and terrorism. Implementation of the June 2015 peace agreement is difficult and attacks by terrorist groups not part of the peace agreement are causing numerous casualties. The economy performed well in 2016, with strong economic growth and low inflation. However, poverty remains high and social discontent is growing. Security efforts and the decentralization process associated with the peace agreement pose fiscal challenges. The near-term outlook for continuing strong growth is subject to downside risks from the volatile security conditions.
Background, Recent Developments and Outlook
Volatile security conditions remain challenging. President Keïta reshuffled his cabinet in April 2017 and is pushing ahead with implementing overdue aspects of the 2015 peace agreement. Interim authorities—comprising both members of the government and former rebels—were installed in most disputed regions in late 2016 after protracted negotiations. Despite these initiatives, there are still sections of the North that are difficult to control, while insecurity has also spread to the center and south of the country as international terrorists and drug trafficking groups continue to cause casualties. The insecurity undermines efforts by the Malian government and its international partners to strengthen the rule of law and deliver basic health care, education, and humanitarian assistance in the North and some parts of the Center of the country. Social tension rose significantly in early 2017, with prolonged strikes and protests by civil servants.
Amid security challenges, Mali’s economic recovery continued in 2016 but vulnerabilities increased and external imbalances widened
Growth remained strong and inflation subdued. Preliminary data indicate that real GDP grew by 5.8 percent (½ percentage point higher than projected), owing to better than expected cotton yields and robust investment. Inflation through end-December was negative (-0.8 percent), driven by falling food prices, and low international oil prices.
The external position remains weak. The overall balance of payments deficit widened by 2.5 percentage points to 3.9 percent of GDP despite a smaller than expected external current account deficit of 7.1 percent of GDP in 2016 (compared to 7.7 percent in the program) mainly driven by higher gold prices. Higher than expected private capital outflows associated mainly with gold mining companies, and delays in the receipt of grants and multilateral loans reduced the capital and financial account surplus by about 3 percentage points.
The 2016 fiscal position was consistent with the program objectives. As agreed under the program, the budget accommodated additional peace and security expenditures and helped implement the government’s decentralization strategy—with the overall fiscal deficit reaching 3.9 percent of GDP,1 slightly below the deficit envisaged in the program. All continuous and quantitative performance criteria and indicative targets for end-December 2016 were met.
Monetary and financial conditions are tightening
In December 2016, to curb declining foreign reserves, the regional central bank (BCEAO) increased its marginal lending rate by 100 basis points to 4.5 percent, and restricted access to the refinancing window for commercial banks to no more than twice the banks’ own funds. Although this was followed in March 2017 by a reduction in the reserve requirement ratio (from 5 to 3 percent), staff estimates that, for Mali, the latter measure will offset only a small fraction of the liquidity-reducing impact of the December measures. Thus, some Malian banks are now facing difficulties to refinance at the regional central bank (BCEAO), and have more limited space to provide credit to the public sector or the economy. Staff projects credit to the economy to expand only by 12.5 percent in 2017, from 19 percent last year.
The macroeconomic outlook remains positive, but external vulnerabilities are rising
Real GDP growth is projected at 5.3 percent in 2017, and slowing slightly thereafter to settle around 4.7 percent, Mali’s long-run potential rate of growth. Inflation is projected to remain moderate. In the external sector, relative to program projections (see country report EBS/16/116), the WEO baseline for gold prices has been revised downward by a cumulative 13 percent for 2017– 18 while oil prices were revised upward by a cumulative 14.5 percent, contributing to a deterioration of the terms of trade of about 11 percent in 2017.
Despite the impact of tighter monetary policy, the current account deficit is projected to exceed 8 percent of GDP in 2017 and 6.5 percent of GDP in 2018 (cumulatively 2.6 percent of GDP higher than envisaged in the program), reflecting in part these price developments. Over the medium term, the current account deficit would gradually narrow to about 6 percent of GDP (about 0.7 percentage points of GDP higher than previously projected), in line with planned fiscal adjustment and the convergence of growth to its potential.
BANK GROUP 2015-2019 COUNTRY STRATEGY PAPER FOR MALI
African Development Bank
Growth was zero in 2012 as a result of the crisis that the country experienced. The economy began to recover in 2013 with a real GDP growth rate of 1.7%. In 2014, growth was consolidated at 7.2% due to an almost 15% increase in agricultural production as a result of heavy rainfall. Inflation remained fairly high in 2012 with rising consumer prices linked to the effects of the crisis. In contrast, inflation was very low in 2013 and 2014 at -0.6% and 0.9%, respectively. These low rates are mainly due to the drop in the prices of imported products (food products and oil) and the successful 2013/2014 crop year.
The current account deficit (including grants) widened in 2014 to 7.3% of GDP compared to 3.4% of GDP in 2013 following a drop in gold prices and an increase in imports with the start of the economic recovery. This deficit was partly financed by net capital inflows, mainly external aid and foreign direct investment. The overall balance of payments deficit (CFAF 174 billion, i.e. USD 353 million), was financed through BCEAO foreign exchange reserves.
In general, Mali faces a major challenge of non-inclusive economic growth. The sound macroeconomic performance posted in recent years has not translated into a significant reduction of poverty in the country. Inequalities have deepened between the different segments of the population (urban and rural areas, wide gender disparities) and between the different regions (northern and southern regions, large and small towns and villages). Disparities also continue to persist in several areas, including access to land and employment.
Regarding the financial sector, Mali’s financial and banking system has, for the most part, remained stable and sound despite the impacts of the 2012 crisis. In 2014, the branches of commercial banks, closed in 2012 in Timbuktu and Gao regions, resumed their activities. Commercial banks also resumed their activities in the North. Branches of commercial banks are operating normally and the BCEAO branch in Mopti has re-opened. The banks have benefited from the BCEAO’s policy of low-cost re-financing aimed at increasing credit to the economy by about 10% in 2013 and during the first half of 2014, on the one hand, and at growing their assets from bonds issued by other WAEMU countries, on the other. The monetary authorities also reduced the medium-to-long term Uses to Stable Resources Ratio (USRR) from 75% to 50% to encourage banks to engage in long-term financing of large investment projects.
With regard to budget management, the Government successfully consolidated the budget indicators in 2012 (budgetary deficit5 of 1.2% of GDP compared to 3.8% in 2011, and a primary budgetary balance limited to -0.7% of GDP compared to -1.1% in 2011). However, budget execution resulted in the accumulation of domestic arrears of about CFAF 29.8 billion as at end December 2012. The drive to regulate budget expenditure was pursued in 2013, thus limiting the overall budget deficit to 3.2% of GDP. Clearing the domestic arrears was a concern for the authorities in 2014 (CFAF 65 billion was paid in 2014, compared to CFAF 30 billion in 2013, of the CFAF 167 billion identified by an external audit), the aim being to align the 2014 budgetary policy with the economic recovery already begun. The authorities were able to maintain the primary balance almost at par with an overall budgetary deficit of 3.9% of GDP in 2014.
2014 was also marked by the failure to conclude the first and second IMF Reviews under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and the suspension of budget support operations by the technical and financial partners because the government had made off-budget expenditure. This was for a presidential aircraft (USD 40 million) and a supplies contract awarded by the Ministry of Defence (USD 138 million) with a Government guarantee equivalent to USD 200 million. The Government has had to adopt two supplementary budget laws during 2014 to comply with the community commitments of WAEMU and those of the IMF under the ECF. Consequently, most disbursements made on partners’ budget support operations were postponed until 2015.
The medium-term macroeconomic prospects are promising with respective growth rates of 5.5% and 5.6% in 2016 and 2017. This consolidation of the economic recovery has been due to the performance of the gold and agriculture sectors, and the revival of tertiary sector activities. However, there are risks that could undermine this positive outlook, including: (i) political instability with possible social unrest; (ii) the precarious security conditions nationwide; and (iii) exogenous shocks such as climate variability, the volatility of gold and cotton prices and fluctuations in the Euro/dollar exchange rate.
The 2015 budget confirms the return to an overall budget deficit corresponding to 5% of GDP, with a view to supporting the economic recovery. In this regard, fiscal revenue is expected to rise by 0.5% of GDP with a tax increase on oil products, telecommunications, financial transactions, alcohol and tobacco as well as implementation of the reform of the tax departments. Budget expenditure is also expected to increase by 0.4% of GDP due to: (i) an increase in the wage bill following an agreement with the trade unions, (ii) military spending with the adoption of a Framework Act on Military Programming; and (iii) expenditure relating to the implementation of the Peace and Reconciliation Agreement. The 2015 budget authorizes very limited use of domestic financing and endeavors to reduce domestic arrears. Consequently, private sector cash flows should be bolstered and the financial stability of the banking system maintained.
MALI – NORTHERN ECONOMY IN SHAMBLES
African Research Bulletin– Economic, Financial and Technical Series
Aid agencies are struggling against the next crisis: food insecurity
The economy has been hit hard by the crisis, shrinking an estimated 1.5% in 2012 after growing an average 5.7% a year between 2000 and 2010, according to the World Bank. But the effects are particularly devastating in the north. Its sandy streets eerily empty, its water, electricity and communications cut, Timbuktu has been freed from its Islamist occupiers but now faces the daunting task of rebuilding an economy in shambles. As they left, the Al Qaeda‐linked rebels sabotaged the city’s water and electricity systems, communication networks and the ferry that provides a key link across the Niger river, AFP reported (3/2) that banks were running out of money, along with hotels, bars and schools.
“Economically, it’s a catastrophe. We’re living in extreme poverty. We are only just resuming activity,” said restaurant owner Baba Abdou Toure. He complains that food prices have risen sharply since the beginning of the crisis, a complaint echoed by other locals in a city where unemployment is rife. There is a shortage of meat because herders no longer bring livestock to the city. The price of a kilo of mutton has more than doubled, from 1,200 CFA francs (less than two euros) to 2,600 (four euros). Chicken has doubled in price, and beef has gone up 25%.
Early steps to restore as far as possible Timbuktu’s devastated cultural heritage would help local people and keep up the new international interest in the region. Troops from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are supposed to provide security for economic rebuilding to start. In a country wracked by over a decade of low‐level insurgency and gangs of kidnappers, drugs and arms traffickers, re‐establishing effective local authorities will be hard, says Africa Confidential, London (1/2).
Bamako will also have to move sharply to boost the northern economy and provide some basic services. Food shortages are worsening in Gao, which usually relies on imports from Algeria, whose border is currently closed. Some crash programmes are needed to reopen the schools and provide jobs for the dissident youths, some of whom joined the jihadists but are now trying to slip back into civilian life. Plans are needed for the return of over 350,000 refugees and internally displaced people. Government officials will also have to organise seeds, fertiliser, livestock and credit to farmers and herders in time for planting and grazing in the July–September rainy season.
Relief groups are considering resuming or expanding their operations in northern Mali after French and Malian troops took key towns from militant Islamists who controlled the region for nine months. “The situation is still fluid. We have to wait and see how it evolves”, said Lucile Grosjean, the emergency communication coordinator for Action Against Hunger (ACF).
“The year 2013 represents a shift in our activities from a combined drought‐and‐conflict emergency response of  to one focusing mainly on the consequences of the conflict in the north,” Zlatan Milisic, World Food Programme (WFP) country director for Mali told IRIN. “As soon as the barges that operate on River Niger started going north from Mopti, we started planning for resumption of activities,” he said, explaining that WFP had since late January shipped some 600 tons of food for around 35,000 people to the Timbuktu area.
WFP plans to triple the amount of food sent to the north and open a transport route between Niamey, the capital of neighbouring Niger, and Gao, Milisic said. The occupation of northern Mali worsened the plight of residents there (previously hit by serious food shortages and drought in 2011–2012). The recent military offensive that has seen many food traders, mainly Arabs or Touaregs, flee after reprisal attacks, has caused food and fuel price hikes, Oxfam said in a statement.
Markets are running out of stocks after looting, and food prices have now risen by almost 20% in Gao since the armed intervention began on January 11th, Oxfam added. Money is also getting scarce in Gao Region, where banks have been closed for several months, and cash supplies from the capital Bamako are dwindling due to restricted movement, ACF said. “There is a huge food security problem which adds to the (insecurity) during the last nine months. Fields were not sufficiently cultivated and the harvest was low,” Grosjean explained.
The recent fighting has displaced nearly 10,000 people who have sought refuge in Bamako and the central towns of Segou and Mopti. Some 15,000 others have been forced to flee to neighbouring countries. Some 6,500 mostly from Kidal, Gao and Ménaka forced to flee to the Tin Zaouatène area in Kidal region near the border with Algeria are surviving under trees and in wrecked vehicles without sufficient food, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said. Neither the displaced nor the locals who have taken some in can cross the border to buy more supplies due to the border closure. ICRC said on February 11th it was sending an aid convoy from Niger’s capital Niamey to Tin Zaouatène in the coming 48 hours. (UN Integrated Regional Information Network 6, 11/2)
The European Commission (EC) has announced that it will release emergency aid worth €20m. Also the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has agreed to provide an $18.4m emergency loan “to help Bamako deal with the instability in the nation” and “push other donors to resume funding”, blocked after the coup. Japan also said it would give an extra $20m to help stabilize Mali and the Sahel region.
MALI – COUNTRY OVERVIEW
The World Bank
Despite deteriorating security, economic performance is strong, with robust growth and, more recently, an apparent drop in poverty rates overall. Robust performance in the agriculture and services sectors led to an estimated growth rate of 5.8% in 2016 (down from 6.0% in 2015) despite volatile security conditions. Regardless of the peace 2015 agreements, the north is still difficult for the government to control, and insecurity has spread to the center and south regions.
Primary sector growth accelerated from 6.9% in 2015 to 7.6% in 2016, thanks to good agriculture and rainfall, while tertiary sector growth has been robust (at about 6% since 2014) following renewed dynamism in the ICT sector. On the demand side, private consumption rose by 5.1%, driven by increased agricultural incomes in rural areas and stable food prices in urban areas. Meanwhile, gross fixed investment increased sharply by 14.9%, reflecting the government’s efforts to bridge infrastructure gaps, including those related to the Peace Agreement. Inflation has dropped to -1.8%, due to falling food prices and low international oil prices.
Lower gold prices and increased imports for public investment contributed to widen the current account deficit from 5.3% of GDP in 2015 to 7.3% in 2016. The deficit was financed by net capital inflows, many in the form of aid and Foreign Direct Investment. The weakening external position sharply decreased foreign reserves. Broad money increased by 6.4% in 2016.
Substantial public investments have contributed to deterioration in the fiscal position. The overall fiscal balance (including grants) widened from -1.8% of GDP in 2015 to -4.0% in 2016 due to increased public spending, despite big improvements in domestic revenue. Public expenditure and net lending to the central government rose sharply to 22.4 % of GDP from 20.9% in 2015, due to the expansion of capital expenditure. Improved fuel tax policy and reforms to broaden the tax base and rationalize exemptions allowed an increase of tax revenue by 1% of GDP. But though debt distress is moderate, public debt rose by 3% of GDP from 2014 to 2016.
Mali is a member of the Western Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). Monetary and exchange rate policies are managed at a regional level by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), which keeps a peg between the CFA Franc and the Euro, a policy supported by the French Treasury. In December 2016, the BCEAO increased the marginal lending facility rate from 3.5% to 4.5%, pushing up the cost of sovereign funds on the regional market. This measure was mitigated in March 2017, when BCEAO reduced the reserve requirement ratio from 5% to 3%.
Growth is projected to stay robust at about 5% over the medium term, in line with Mali’s long-run potential growth rate. Agricultural growth is underpinned by favorable weather and positive effects from input subsidy reform. Services growth will continue in telecoms, transport, and trade. Inflation is projected to be moderate for as long as agricultural production keeps food prices at bay.
On the demand side, investments may increase through the operationalization of the PPP law and the Sustainable Development Fund for regional development projects, especially in Mali’s north. The external current account deficit may reach 8.4% of GDP in 2017, but would gradually narrow to about 6.5% of GDP, in line with planned fiscal consolidation.
The deficit is to be financed by a combination of FDI and external borrowing. Sustained efforts on fiscal adjustment—through the rationalization of current expenditure and improved tax revenue—would lower the fiscal balance from 4.3% of GDP in 2016 to 3.0% in 2019. However, debt sustainability is vulnerable to a tightening of financial conditions, such as lower remittances, lower foreign direct investment, or lower commodity prices.
Crédit photo : Africa Fashion Guide