Press Release: Statement by IMF Deputy Managing Director Murilo Portugal at the Conclusion of a Visit to Rwanda

May 4, 2007

Press Release No.07/85

Mr. Murilo Portugal, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), made the following statement today in Kigali:

"This is my first visit to Rwanda as Deputy Managing Director of the IMF. I am grateful for this opportunity and want to thank Prime Minister Bernard Makuza, Minister of Finance James Musoni, and Central Bank Governor François Kanimba and other Rwandese officials for their gracious hospitality and all those I met for very frank and open discussions.

"I came primarily to listen—to hear from policy makers and others about their priorities, and how they feel the IMF can help. I also spent time with the donor community and the private sector to get a sense of the range of opinions in this country. Most movingly, I had the chance to pay my respects to the victims of the genocide at the Kigali memorial.

"At my meeting with Prime Minister Makuza, I congratulated him on Rwanda's impressive progress since the devastating 1994 genocide. The Prime Minister noted that Rwanda must seize the opportunity provided by debt relief and prospects of scaled-up aid to forcefully address its medium-term challenges. We agreed that to benefit from scaling up, Rwanda must preserve macro stability and use resources productively to ensure sustained growth and poverty reduction.

"I thank Rwanda's economic team led by Minister Musoni and Governor Kanimba for constructive discussions. The IMF fully supports the government's economic program which addresses Rwanda's medium-term challenges by increasing priority spending, while keeping inflation in check and strengthening public financial management and the financial sector. I share the authorities' view that this program will encourage private sector development and begin to address obstacles to growth that everybody recognizes: limited and expensive electricity supply, a poor transportation network, a shallow financing system, low agricultural yields, and the high cost of doing business. We agreed that government operations must be efficient and transparent to ensure that aid and tax revenue are harnessed to their most productive use and that improving education, health care, and food security will make it possible for more and more Rwandans to contribute to building the country and making it strong and united.

"I am impressed by the commitment of Prime Minister Makuza, Rwanda's economic team and the many people I met here to forcefully tackle Rwanda's challenges. With such dedication and good policies, Rwanda will be able to enjoy more rapid growth, substantially reduce poverty, and advance toward the MDGs. The IMF is committed to working with Rwanda to realize these goals."


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