ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, October 2, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission visited Abidjan during September 17 – October 1, 2013, to conduct discussions on the IMF’s Article IV consultation and the fourth 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. Alassane Dramane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire; Mr. Daniel Kablan Duncan, Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance; Ms. Niale Kaba, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office in charge of Economy and Finance; Mr. Adama Toungara, Minister of Petroleum and Energy; Mr. Jean-Claude Brou, Minister of Industry and Mines; Mr. Jean-Baptiste Aman Ayayé, National Director of the Central Bank of West African States; and other senior government officials. The mission also met Parlementarians, members of the business and donor communities, and with representatives from trade unions and civil society. Discussions focused on recent economic developments, growth prospects, and structural reforms to ensure long-term fiscal sustainability, strengthen the financial sector, and improve competitiveness.
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 IMF’s Article IV consultation and the fourth review of the ECF-supported program. They 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 48.78 million (about US$74 million) under the IMF’s ECF arrangement. Executive Board consideration is scheduled for early December 2013.
“Macroeconomic performance in the first half of 2013 was better than expected, with continued strong gross domestic product (GDP) growth, and moderate inflation despite increases in some food product prices. Budget execution was also satisfactory with revenues exceeding the program’s target and expenditures being lower than projected. All performance criteria and indicative targets for end-June 2013 under the ECF arrangement were observed.
“The macroeconomic prospects for the whole of 2013 and 2014 are positive, with growth expected to exceed 8.5 percent in 2013 and inflation remaining moderate. With the support of substantial external financing, public investment would rise to over 7 percent of GDP, in line with the 2012-2015 National Development Plan.
“Clear progress has also been made in the implementation of structural reforms, especially to improve the business climate and strengthen the energy sector. The mission welcomes the significant progress made in preparing an action plan for the regularization of domestic arrears to suppliers, formulating strategies for developing the financial sector and restructuring public banks as well as the elaboration of electricity and mining sector codes. The mission also welcomes the preparation of a medium-term debt strategy and the further strengthening of debt management. In addition, reforms in the agricultural sector, including the cocoa, cashew, and cotton reforms, are contributing to the reduction of rural poverty. The mission encourages the government to build on this momentum and complete these reforms as scheduled. The mission also encourages the authorities to continue the implementation of ambitious structural reforms to keep on achieving high growth rates and their goal of transforming the economy into an emerging market by 2020. In particular, these reforms should cover further improvements to the business climate and governance, the completion of the regularization of all domestic arrears, the development of the financial sector, the strengthening of the financial situation of the electricity sector. Furthermore, attaining the growth objectives will require the preservation of macroeconomic stability and the consolidation of the considerable progress achieved in restoring the soundness of public finances.
“Against the background of rising investment, continued implementation of the Fund-supported economic and financial program should result in substantial job creation, increased resources for pro-poor expenditures, better access to public services, and more generally higher living standards for the people of Côte d’Ivoire.
“The IMF team thanks the authorities for their hospitality and for the constructive discussions.”
International Monetary Fund (IMF)