Guinea-Bissau

Country Summary

Economic performance and outlook: Economic growth dipped slightly from 5.8% in 2016 to an estimated 5.5% in 2017 and is projected to be 5.2% in 2018. Growth in 2017 was driven mainly by food crop production (which grew 8%, up from 5.6% in 2016) and the fishing industry (which grew 9.5%, up from 9% in 2016). In the secondary sector, construction grew 16.6% in 2017 following a sharp downturn of 17.8% in 2016. In the tertiary sector, retail was up 8.9% in 2017. On the demand side, the key determinants of GDP growth in 2017 were personal spending, public investment, and exports. These reflect situational factors, such as the rise in the price of cashew. 

Macroeconomic evolution: Public finances improved in 2017. The budget deficit (including grants) shrank from 4% of GDP in 2016 to 2% in 2017, mainly reflecting the increase in tax revenues from CFAF 66.1 billion in 2016 to CFAF 79.9 billion in 2017. Inflation as measured by the consumer price index was estimated at 2.3% in 2017—well below the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WEAMU) ceiling of 3%. Total outstanding public debt (domestic and foreign) is expected to be 43.3% of GDP, down from 47.3% in 2016, within the WAEMU ceiling of 70% of GDP. The current account was in surplus in 2016 (2.2%) and 2017 (2.8%), due to a trade surplus of 4.6% in 2016 and 3.1% in 2017. 

Tailwinds: Tax revenues improved in the first half of 2017, up 36.3% from the same period the previous year. This reflects more efficient tax collection, particularly of customs duties, which leaped 26% from 2016. The 39.8% rise in the international price for cashew in 2017 (to $1,950 per ton) helped Guinea-Bissau’s economy. Specifically, the decline in cashew exports (from 201,921 tons in 2016 to 192,661 tons in 2017) was offset by a rise in export prices, from CFAF 772 per kg in 2016 to CFAF 1,100 per kg in 2017. Cashew export revenues are expected to grow 31%, from CFAF 162 billion in 2016 to CFAF 212 billion in 2017. 

Headwinds: Political uncertainty continues to dominate economic prospects. The November 2016 appointment of Umaro Sissoco Embalo as Prime Minister, following the Conakry accord of October 2016, was rejected after failing to win the approval of the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde. The Parliament, which was shut down in December 2015, has not resumed sitting. The date for parliamentary elections, which are expected to occur in 2018, has not been set. This situation hinders the business environment and governance and fuels social unrest. The country is ranked 176 out of 190 countries in the World Bank’s 2018 Doing Business report and 168 out of 176 countries on Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perceptions Index. According to the United Nations Development Programme’s 2015 Multidimensional Poverty Index, 80% of the country’s population lives in multidimensional poverty, 58% of those in deep poverty.

Source: African Economic Outlook 2018

Fixed Income

Issuance strategy 

The West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) comprises eight countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.. Bond issuance strategies vary from one state to another but most use the MTDS tool to develop their issuance strategy. Generally, most programs are focused on short-term tenor and characterized by securities with repayments by amortization and deferred coupon. Recently, with the advent of the AUT, the zone has progressed towards lengthening and standardizing securities. 

Benchmark issues 

For the moment, there is no benchmark maturity in the WAEMU. The region is in the assessment phase of developing a yield curve. WAEMU countries understand that issuance policies need to evolve towards considering the need for a yield curve. 

Yield curve 

Yield curve calculation models 

There is no benchmark yields curve in the WAEMU Zone. 

Interpolation methods 

As there is no yield curve in the WAEMU, no method for interpolation is in use. 

Yield curve managed by

Agence UMOA-Titres is responsible for the yield curve. 

Display platform 

There is no yield curve in the WAEMU. 

Challenges in building an efficient yield curve 

  • Market fragmentation: fragmented securities market and non-standardized securities. 
  • Price discovery issue
  • Narrow investor base: comprising homogeneous investors such as banks. 
  • Limited and illiquid secondary market: nonexistent secondary market where the securities are acquired for "buy and hold”. 
  • Coexistence of two agencies for issuing bonds and bills: The “Conseil Régional de l’Epargne Publique et des Marchés Financiers” (CREMPF) is in charge of monitoring the syndication. The Agence UMOA-Titres is responsible for auctions.

Guide to Buying Bonds

Procedures for market participation

The frequency of auctions is determined by the states, together with the Central Bank. Each state cannot hold T-Bills and Government bonds auction more than once a week.

For Treasury Bills, a calendar program specifying the instruments and their amounts and maturities, is published quarterly by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Central Bank, and in consideration mainly the foreseeable revenue and government spending. Whereas Treasury bonds, an indicative issuance calendar specifying the instruments and their amounts and maturities, is set annually by the Minister of Finance in consultation with the Central Bank.

Each issuance should be advertised at least 7 days before the auction by describing the issuance characteristics. Bidders submit to the Central Bank, sealed in a ballot box reserved for this purpose, a submission form specifying the amounts and the interest rates or the price offered. Submissions may also be made electronically in the conditions defined by the Central Bank.

Later than one hour after the deadline for bids submission, the National Directions of the BCEAO transmit electronically, by fax or any other means of rapid communication accepted by the Central Bank, the main submissions to the principal agency of the BCEAO, which is organizing the auction.

Treasury bills are eligible for refinancing by the Central Bank. Investors and the Central Bank may buy or sell Treasury bonds on the secondary market, awarded by private treaty. In this context, they are required to post the purchase price and sale which they are willing to transact.

Treasury bonds can be traded on the secondary market. As such, they can be exchanged at the Regional Stock Exchange (BRVM) or outside the BRVM.

Settlement cycle

The settlement date is T+1 for domestic operations and T+3 for operations between Members of the Union. This period can be modified by BCEAO. However, the contracting parties are free to agree on a minimum term above to unwind their operations. If the instructions given by the two parties are identical, the operation is definitely offset the value date agreed. In case of discrepancy between the evidences, the Central Bank suspends the transaction and notifies this decision to both parties for correction. Central Bank ensures the existence of adequate provisions before executing the compensation requested. Transmission to the Central Bank of notifications occurs in the selection of speakers, fax, telex, ordinary mail or any other means of rapid communication accepted by the BCEAO.

Taxation

Treasury bills and Treasury bonds incomes are tax-free throughout the territory of the Member States of the WAEMU.But for non-members, the tax rates are different from one country to another. In Guinea-Bissau, the tax rate one securities income is equal to maximum 6%.

Rating

Rating Agency Current ratingOutlook
Moody’sNo ratingNo outlook
Fitch No ratingNo outlook
Standard and Poor’s No ratingNo outlook

Primary Dealers

There is no appropriate Primary Dealers System in the WAEMU zone.

Subscription of Treasury bills is reserved to banks, financial institutions as well as regional financial institutions with an ordinary current account in the books of the Central Bank. Other investors, physical or legal persons, whatever their country of origin can also purchase Treasury bills in the primary market through banks located in the territory of the Union.

The primary subscription of Treasury bonds is restricted to banks, financial institutions, regional organizations and financial management company and intermediation (IMS). Other investors, physical or legal persons, whatever their country of origin may also purchase Treasury bonds on the primary market through banks and brokerage firms (SGI) located on the territory of the Union.

Market restrictions

Openness to international investors

The members of the zone are actively encouraging foreign investment. Foreign companies are free to invest and list on the regional stock exchange (BRVM), which is based in Abidjan and is dominated by Ivorian and Senegalese firms. 

Capital controls

There are no significant limits on foreign investment nor are there generally differences in treatment of foreign and national investors, either in terms of the level of foreign ownership or sector of investment.

Restriction on FX and profit repatriation

WAEMU has unified foreign exchange regulations. Under these regulations, there are no restrictions for transfers within the community, and designated commercial banks are able to approve routine foreign exchange transactions inside the community. The transfer abroad of the proceeds of liquidation of foreign direct investments no longer requires prior governments approval.