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The International Monetary Fund is in talks with the Democratic Republic of Congo to supply a $370 million loan and technical assistance package as the country prepares for its first program with the Washington-based lender in seven years.
A team from the IMF’s Africa department is in Congo to discuss the terms, central bank Governor Deogratias Mutombo told reporters in the capital, Kinshasa, Friday.
The IMF visit “is to put in place the conditions to implement a government economic program that will be assisted by the technical services of the fund and at the same time by financial assistance of the monetary fund,” Mutombo said.
Congo is on track to receive the new financing under the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility by mid-December, Mutombo said. The money is part of a six-month IMF “staff monitoring program” that could lead to a formal loan agreement with the fund as early as May, he said.
The IMF halted its last loan program with Congo in 2012 over worries about corruption in the mining sector. The country’s new president, Felix Tshisekedi, has been traveling the world trying to drum up investment and aid from wary donors like the IMF, whose loan programs often come with strict conditions.
A new IMF program could open the door to significant financing from other lenders, Mutombo said, including the African Development Bank and the European Union. The World Bank has offered Congo $1.5 billion in direct budget support over three years if the government and the IMF can agree on a new program.
IMF evaluation teams will make two trips to the central African country in December to assess the governance of ministries, state-owned companies and the central bank, Mutombo said.
“It’s not an audit that’s going to lead the IMF to sanction anyone or anything,” Mutumbo said. “They’re assessing the state of governance and identifying failures and strong points so we can come to an agreement on corrective measures that can improve governance.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael J. Kavanagh in Kinshasa at email@example.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alastair Reed at firstname.lastname@example.org, Jacqueline Mackenzie, Michael Gunn
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