Press Release: IMF to Extend 100 Percent Debt Relief to Niger Under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative

December 23, 2005

"Under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative, the IMF Executive Board has approved debt relief for Niger (see Press Release No 05/286). Under the Initiative, the IMF will provide 100 percent debt relief on all debt incurred by Niger to the IMF before January 1, 2005 that remains outstanding. This amounts to approximately US$111 million, or US$86 million excluding remaining assistance under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative. This debt relief should become available in early January as soon as the remaining consents of the contributors to the PRGF Trust Subsidy Account have been received. The international community has made these additional resources available to help Niger make progress toward its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

"Niger has qualified for IMF debt relief because of its overall satisfactory recent macroeconomic performance, progress in poverty reduction, and improvements in public expenditure management. Since 2000, economic growth, albeit uneven because of periodic adverse exogenous shocks, has strengthened and inflation has remained under control. Despite difficult circumstances, including the drought in 2004, the government has established a good record in implementing its Poverty Reduction Strategy, and this has resulted in improving social indicators, and significant progress in expanding the poor's access to education and clean water. Progress is also being made in strengthening public expenditure management systems. Performance in these areas provides assurance that resources made available under the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative will be used effectively.

"The IMF looks forward to working with Niger to help it develop a strong and stable economy and to make sustained progress toward the MDGs," he said.


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