Growth remained strong in 2018, the fiscal deficit narrowed by ½ percentage point of GDP, external reserves increased, and important banking reforms were put in place, including the introduction of Basel II/III standards. Yet, public debt and the costs of its service have risen in recent years, partly due to sizeable below-the-line operations. Buoyant domestic demand, including public capital spending, contributed to a large current account deficit, mainly financed by large Eurobond issuances which also underpinned the increase in reserves. Additional fiscal effort is projected to bring the WAEMU deficit to its target of 3 percent of GDP in 2019. The medium-term outlook remains positive despite somewhat less favorable global conditions, but critically hinges on planned fiscal consolidation and structural reforms to improve competitiveness and allow the private sector to become the main engine of growth. Other risks relate to terms-of-trade and weather shocks, and a difficult security situation in some countries.