IMF approves release of $19.9 million loan money to Niger

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The executive board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday approved the release of $19.9 million to Niger.

Niger’s economic and financial program is supported under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) framework.

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The new loan money is bringing the total disbursements under the arrangement to $167.86 million to Niger.

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The Executive Board also approved the Niger’s request for a waiver for the non- observance of the performance criterion on domestic budget financing at end-December 2019.

Niger’s three-year ECF arrangement was approved on January 23, 2017, for $134.04 million in support of the country’s national plan for economic development.

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It aims to enhance macroeconomic stability and foster high and equitable growth, boost incomes and create jobs, while strengthening the foundations for sustainable development.

On December 10, 2018, the IMF executive board agreed to augment the loan to $167.86 million, or 90 percent of Niger’s quota at the IMF.

The IMF executive board also granted extensions of the arrangement until October 31, 2020.

Ms. Antoinette Sayeh, Deputy IMF Managing Director and Acting Chair, said the COVID-19 outbreak remained limited in Niger but confinement measures and delays in foreign projects will likely reduce economic growth in 2020.

“Given the structure of the Nigerien economy, long-lasting effects are likely to be limited. The construction of a pipeline for crude oil exports, scheduled to commence during 2022, will be an important boon for the economy. However, downside risks to the outlook dominate, owing to the uncertain global outlook, the tense security situation in the Sahel, and more frequent natural disasters,” Sayeh said.

She said overall program performance has been mixed. Three out of four performance criteria and two out of five indicative targets were met at end-December 2019.

Sayeh said “a much stronger private sector and greater diversification of the economy are imperative to durably increase living standards in Niger.”

“Achieving this goal will require sustained and focused efforts by the government and development partners aimed at narrowing in infrastructure and education gaps, improving access to credit, continuing to promote good governance, and steadfastly implementing the anti- corruption agenda.’’

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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