Press Release: Statement by IMF Managing Director Strauss-Kahn at the Conclusion of his Visit to Côte d’Ivoire

May 27, 2009

Press Release No. 09/182
May 27, 2009

Mr. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement in Abidjan at the conclusion of his visit to Côte d’Ivoire:

“My visit has been very productive, and I wish to thank President Laurent Gbagbo, Prime Minister Guillaume Soro and Finance Minister Charles Diby Kofi for the warmth of their hospitality and for our fruitful discussions on the challenges Côte d’Ivoire faces as it emerges from conflict. I also met former President Henri Konan Bedie, former Prime Ministers Alassane Ouattara and Daniel Kablan Duncan, and Pascal Affi N’guessan, as well as leaders of civil society and university students. I was also visited Uniwax textile plant. I was moved and heartened by my visit to an orphanage, run by the NGO Chigata, devoted to the care of HIV-infected children.

“I congratulated the authorities on the country’s recent economic performance, which the IMF is supporting through a Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). We agreed that continuing to implement strong policies under the program will be essential to maintaining progress toward debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative during a crucial period ahead.

“President Gbagbo and Prime Minister Soro briefed me on developments in the electoral process. I welcome their commitment, like those of former President Bedie and former Prime Minister Ouattara, to peaceful and transparent elections in November that will preserve the conditions for sustained growth and development. I am encouraged by the support among political leaders for the economic reform program under the PRGF.

“Côte d’Ivoire has so far been only moderately affected by the global slowdown, in part because the impact of commodity price developments, related to cocoa in particular, on the terms of trade has been slightly positive. Growth is expected to accelerate to 3.7 percent this year from 2.3 percent in 2008. Strong fiscal performance will be an important contribution to establishing the track-record needed to reach the completion point under the HIPC Initiative. I therefore welcome the decision to bring spending on large-scale public works into the budget framework.

“The authorities agree that maintaining this relatively favorable outlook requires steadfast policy implementation and further reform. The IMF stands ready to support Côte d’Ivoire in these endeavors. The continued and well-coordinated support of the international community remains critical for a successful return to a path of sustained peace, poverty reduction and economic recovery.

“My visits to Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of Congo this week have been an opportunity to discuss broader African issues—particularly those concerning post-conflict countries—with a wide range of people, including policy makers, members of civil society, and students.

“Africa currently finds itself the innocent victim of a financial crisis that has its origin in advanced economies. Coming so soon after last year’s food and fuel price shock, the global recession adds to the vulnerabilities of low income countries through falling commodity prices, reduced trade and investment, and threats to development assistance.

“In response, the IMF is strengthening its partnership with Africa. As reaffirmed at the Dar es Salaam conference in March, Africa will find in the IMF a good friend, ready with support and candid advice. We have substantially increased our financing to Africa and are ready to do more. G-20 members have asked us to provide an additional US$6 billion in concessional resources to low-income countries over the next two-three years. We are committed to this goal and to continue the reform of the lending tools and policies we use to support your efforts.”


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