Press Release: IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato to Visit Gabon and Cameroon

January 4, 2007

Press Release No. 07/01

Mr. Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will travel to Libreville, Gabon on January 9 and Yaoundé, Cameroon on January 10. This is Mr. de Rato's sixth trip to Africa since assuming his position in June 2004.

The forthcoming visit to Africa will provide Mr. de Rato with the opportunity to meet with central African leaders and representatives of the private sector and civil society regarding the challenges facing Africa. Hearing first-hand from policy makers and opinion leaders will provide the IMF with valuable insights on how best it can support its member countries in their effort to reduce poverty and enhance growth.

In Gabon, the Managing Director will attend the inauguration of the Central Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC)1. He will also meet with the Gabonese leadership as well as leaders from the region. Mr. de Rato will emphasize the IMF's commitment to engage with low-income countries, as underscored in the IMF's Medium-Term Strategy. Discussions will also cover how the IMF is working with the countries in the region to address the challenge of capacity building.

Mr. de Rato will then travel to Yaoundé, where he will meet with the country's leadership and economic team and discuss how the Fund can help Cameroon attain its growth and poverty reduction objectives. Mr. de Rato will also participate in two seminars. The first will be a round table meeting, where he will engage with various stakeholders-representatives from government, civil society, the private sector, labor unions and the donor community-on the challenges facing Cameroon following debt relief. The second seminar, which will take place at the Bank of Central African States (BEAC ), will focus on regional financial issues. Participants will include senior government officials, bankers, and the private sector. Mr. de Rato looks forward to a rich discussion of how best to foster efforts to deepen and widen financial sectors in Africa.

1 A new IMF Africa Regional Technical Assistance Center (AFRITAC) will open in Libreville on January 9. It will join existing centers in Dar es Salaam and Bamako, and will result in a significant increase in technical advice and training to the region. The new center will serve the six countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa--Cameroon, Chad, the Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and the Republic of Congo--as well as Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It will provide capacity-building assistance primarily through a team of resident experts, along with short-term specialists, in the core areas of the IMF's expertise.


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