(Ecofin Agency) - U.S. rating agency Moody’s gave stable or positive outlook for the sovereign creditworthiness of six countries of the CFA zone. In the CEMAC zone, Cameroon's outlook is stable, while Gabon's is positive. Both countries have managed to stabilize their debts, thanks to the support of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In WAEMU, one of the four countries rated for the first time in 2019 is Benin, and Moody’s sees a positive outlook for the country this year. Mali, Togo, and Niger have a stable outlook. Analysts at the agency said the nations’ WAEMU membership has helped keep inflation low thanks to the fixed parity with the euro and common reserves and has strengthened external stability despite high and sustained current account deficits.
Although Sub-Saharan Africa has several of the world's fastest-growing countries, the region has a negative outlook overall. Growth in SSA will not significantly improve per capita income, and strengthen resilience in its various economies. However, despite their positive profile, countries in the CFA zone face many challenges, including governance, security, and social issues.
Moody’s found that Niger and Mali are more at risk geopolitically because of the presence of insurgent groups in both countries. Benin and Togo, on the other hand, are experiencing rising internal political tensions.
Also, most of these countries are ranked as speculative borrowers in the large category known as “B”. Gabon, however, is considered even more speculative and is in the “Caa1” category.
More generally, in most of these countries, it has been observed that deficit financing through debt will be important in achieving fiscal balances. The quality of their borrower profiles will be an important indicator for lenders, both local and international.