Statement by IMF Mission to Côte d'Ivoire

Press Release No. 06/110
May 23, 2006

The following statement was issued on May 16 by the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) staff mission in Abidjan:

"Following the discussions with the Ivorian delegation alongside the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank in Washington in April 2006, an IMF mission visited Abidjan from May 2 to May 16, 2006. World Bank and African Development Bank staff also participated in the mission. The mission held discussions with the Ivorian government with a view to helping Côte d'Ivoire emerge from the crisis. The mission also met with representatives of civil society, the private sector, and donors.

"The mission was encouraged by the progress made on the political front, although the post-conflict challenges remain formidable. It noted that, despite the impact of five years of crisis on Côte d'Ivoire and on its people, economic agents and the government have shown a degree of resilience, which is encouraging for the social and economic recovery. The fiscal position as of the first quarter of 2006 shows that control of expenditure has improved slightly, and a number of measures have been taken to improve fiscal transparency.

"The mission continued the discussions on possible Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance (EPCA) from the IMF. In particular, it held discussions with the authorities on the budget outline for 2006, the mobilization of government revenue, and the financing requirements of the programs related to the crisis, such as the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR), the identification process, elections, and redeployment of the civil service. The mission discussed possible options to cover the financing gap in 2006 with the help of the external partners. Good governance was at the center of the discussions, with the focus being on short- and medium-term measures that could be included in the program. For example, the regular publication of information on budget execution, the reorientation of expenditure to reconstruction needs (by reducing nonessential expenditure), the reintroduction of audits of government agencies and public companies that manage public resources, and the enhancement of transparency in the mobilization, and use, of revenues from the oil and cocoa/coffee sectors.

"The talks resulted in an agreement in principle on the main features of an economic program for 2006 that could receive assistance from the IMF. Nevertheless, the mission noted that the IMF's financial reengagement in Côte d'Ivoire is contingent on a set of preconditions, namely, significant progress with disarmament, continuation of the identification process, and existence of a concerted international effort to help Côte d'Ivoire emerge from the crisis. In this connection, the mission was encouraged by the operational measures that the government had just announced to start these processes and the preparations under way to clear the arrears to the World Bank.

"The mission reiterated that the IMF stands ready to support Côte d'Ivoire in its efforts to overcome the conflict and reconstruct the nation."



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