The IMF is working with authorities in several African countries to provide help stabilizing their economies and financial situations spokesperson Julie Kozack told reporters Thursday (March 23) in Washington, DC.
Ghana is seeking funding from the Fund with The West African country, struggling with its worst economic crisis in a generation. Ghana secured a staff-level agreement with the IMF in December for a $3 billion loan, but approval is contingent on it restructuring its debt of 575.7 billion cedis ($47.6 billion) and the Fund is now waiting on assurances that reforms will be put in place.
“We continue to engage closely with the Ghanaian authorities while they seek these assurances, and we're calling on bilateral creditors to support Ghana's efforts to restore debt sustainability, form an official creditor committee, and deliver the necessary financial assurances as soon as possible. The IMF program aims to support common efforts to restore macroeconomic stability, debt sustainability, while also protecting the vulnerable, preserving financial stability, and laying the foundation for strong and inclusive growth,” said IMF Spokesperson Julie Kozack at her first press conference since taking over as the Fund’s Communications Director.
In Ethiopia a peace deal signed between the government and dissidents from the northern Tigray region four months ago has sparked hope of a new agreement with the IMF.
“The IMF welcomes the strong progress toward restoring lasting peace and stability through the cessation of hostilities agreement. Implementation has progressed well, including the restoration of humanitarian assistance and basic services in Tigray. IMF staff have ongoing discussions with the authorities on the reform plans and how we can support their efforts to address humanitarian and economic challenges. We have received a request for financial assistance and we are conducting the technical work to prepare for a potential program discussion,” Kozack told reporters.
Zambia was the first African country to default on its sovereign debt in the COVID era. An IMF team is in Zambia to work with authorities on a review of its program.
“Zambia is making promising progress on delivering on its commitments under the IMF supported programme. This includes significantly reducing the fiscal deficit and increasing social spending in 2022. Together with steps to strengthen public financial management and governance. But Zambia also needs a substantial reduction in its debt burden from its external creditors to consumate these reforms and preserve the recent growth momentum. So I should say, to complement these reforms,” said Kozack.
“To remove any hurdles to the timely consideration by the IMF executive Board of the first review and article IV, we urge official creditors to move forward and reach agreement on a debt treatment, in line with the financing assurances that they provided in July 2022,” said Kozack adding that the IMF hopes a suitable agreement will be reached soon.
See the full transcript at IMF.org