ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, March 28, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited Abidjan during March 13-27, 2013, to conduct discussions on the third review of a program supported by the Extended Credit Facility (ECF), which was approved by the IMF Executive Board on November 4, 2011 (see Press Release No. 11/399) in the amount of SDR 390.24 million (about US$616 million). The mission met with H.E. Dr. Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; H.E. Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance; H.E. Dr. Albert Toikeusse Mabri, State Minister for Planning and Development; H.E. Ms. Niale Kaba, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of Economy and Finance; H.E.Mr. Adama Toungara, Minister of Petroleum, Mines, and Energy; H.E.Mr. Konan Gnamien, Minister of Civil Service and Administrative Reform; H.E.Mr. Mamadou Sangafowa Coulibaly, Minister of Agriculture; H.E.Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, Minister of Industry; Mr. Jean-Baptiste Aman Ayayé, National Director of the Central Bank of West African States; and other senior government officials. The mission also met with members of the business and donor communities. Discussions focused on recent economic developments, growth prospects and policy implementation under the ECF.
At the conclusion of the mission, Mr. Michel Lazare, Assistant Director in the IMF’s African Department, issued the following statement:
“The Côte d’Ivoire authorities and the IMF team made excellent progress in discussions for the third review of the ECF-supported program and have reached agreement, subject to approval by IMF management and the Executive Board, that the government’s policies could be supported with a disbursement of SDR 48.8 million (about US$74 million) under the IMF’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. Executive Board consideration is expected at the end of May 2013.
“Macroeconomic performance in 2012 was better than expected, with real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 9.8 percent. Average annual inflation in 2012 was limited to 1.3 percent. Budget execution was also better than expected. Cote d’Ivoire achieved the full regularization of its external debt for the first time in around 30 years, following the attainment of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative Completion Point and agreements with its commercial creditors. All of the performance criteria, and four out of five indicative targets, for end-December 2012 under the ECF arrangement were observed.
“The macroeconomic prospects for 2013 are positive, with a vigorous growth rate and low inflation expected. With the support of substantial external financing, public investment would rise to over 7 percent of GDP, in line with the National Development Plan 2012-2015.
“Clear progress has been made recently in the implementation of structural reforms, especially to improve the business climate and strengthen the energy sector, though delays have been encountered in some areas. In addition, the cocoa sector reform is contributing to the reduction of rural poverty. There have been delays in preparing a medium-term wage bill strategy, in restructuring the public sector, in regularizing domestic debt, and in adopting a new electricity code.
“The government’s reform program is set to continue. Key priorities in this regard are value-added tax reform; further improvement in business climate; the adoption of a new Electricity Code; preparation of a medium-term strategy to manage the wage bill; and the preparation of a Competition Law.
“Against this background of rising investment, continued implementation of the Fund-supported economic and financial program should result in substantial job creation, increased funding possibilities for pro-poor expenditures, and higher living standards more generally for the people of Cote d’Ivoire.
“The IMF team thanks the authorities for their hospitality and for the constructive discussions.”
International Monetary Fund (IMF)