Sixty years ago, the International Monetary Fund initiated the African Department, which was created as more and more members from the region started gaining independence and applying for membership. Today (Monday, May 10th ), the IMF’s Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva was joined by the President of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara to celebrate the department’s accomplishments in the region and the road ahead.
“I welcome the IMF's current work to make available as during the 2009 financial crisis to the various member countries. $650 billion in Special Drawing Rights allocations, including $23 billion to sub-Saharan African countries. This will allow our countries to have fiscal space to meet urgent needs for the well-being of our populations,” said Ouattara.
Managing Director Georgieva commended the IMF’s African Department’s work and recognized how critically important it is for Africa to take advantage of the current Covid-19 crisis as an opportunity for advancing economic transformation, digitalization, climate resilience, and investment in human capital.
“Africa is on the move, but to stay on the move, growth has to be way above the 3.6 we project for 2021. We need growth at seven, eight percent or more, and we need to recognize that only together, African leaders pursuing those very economic reforms, You spoke about in the international community, stepping up significantly support for public and private investments in Africa. Only then we can achieve that dream that you had for a hopeful future of the youngest of our continents, the most vibrant of all,” stressed Georgieva.
Since the start of the pandemic, the IMF has provided the region, through emergency financing 13 times more in one year than it would do in an average year in the previous decade. And with the new $650 billion Special Drawing Rights allocation, new opportunities are in the horizon.
“We appreciate the initiatives underway between the IMF and developed countries so that countries with comfortable external reserves lend part of their SDR allocations on concessional terms to African countries. We all need to adapt to a changing world to offer the most innovative and effective responses to new challenges. This is solidarity,” said Ouattara.
Georgieva concluded the event by underlining the IMF’s commitment to helping the region and hoping for a prosperous 60th anniversary for the African Department at the Fund.
“President Ouattara, I want to assure you that we recognize the need for country specific flexibility that allows countries to move towards recovery for their own sake, but also for the help of the world economy. And at the IMF we will be working on these two parameters, medium term fiscal consolidation so we have an anchor. But flexibility in the short term to make sure we don't cut short the green shoots of the recovery in Africa,” said Georgieva.
To watch the full event, click here