News Brief: IMF Considers Niger Under the HIPC Initiative

November 22, 2000

The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) considered Niger on a preliminary basis and found it to be eligible for assistance under the Enhanced Initiative for Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC). The Board is expected to discuss Niger's decision point under the Initiative before the end of the year.

In commenting on the Executive Board discussion on Niger, Eduardo Aninat, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman, said:

"Executive Directors considered the preliminary assessment of Niger's eligibility under the enhanced HIPC Initiative. The debt sustainability analysis, conducted jointly by the staffs of the IMF and the World Bank in close collaboration with the authorities, shows that Niger's external debt as of end-1999 exceeds the sustainability thresholds under the enhanced HIPC Initiative. The Fund therefore considers that Niger is eligible for assistance under the enhanced HIPC Initiative.

"Directors noted Niger's satisfactory track record of performance under previous IMF and World Bank-supported programs which, regrettably, were interrupted after the military coup in 1999. They welcomed the actions taken by the new government since the beginning of the year, to restore the momentum of reform. They agreed that continued satisfactory economic performance, the preparation of an Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper and the adoption of a program that could be supported by the Fund's Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility could pave the way for Niger to reach the decision point by end-2000. A credible framework for the full PRSP is essential to ensure that the external assistance that would become available under the enhanced HIPC Initiative will be put to its intended use.

"Looking ahead, Directors agreed that the authorities should continue their efforts to reduce poverty, improve governance and enhance the effectiveness of delivery of social services in a context of macroeconomic stability and a strengthened structural reform agenda. Continuation of reforms in macroeconomic, structural, and social areas will enable Niger to reach its floating completion point," Mr. Aninat said.


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