Statement by IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato on Liberia

Press Release No. 07/234
October 18, 2007

Mr. Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today on Liberia:

"Earlier today, I met with President Johnson-Sirleaf. Our discussions focused on the ambitious reform program the Liberian government is pursuing under a Staff-Monitored Program (SMP). Despite difficult post-conflict circumstances, the government has established an encouraging track record of policy implementation under their SMP. Achievements under the SMP have supported a continued recovery in real GDP growth, relative price and exchange rate stability, and a significant improvement in public financial management and the financial position of the Central Bank of Liberia. Looking ahead, to sustain the reform efforts, the authorities will need to continue to display strong ownership of the program, including by working closely with the Liberian legislature.

"We also discussed Liberia's unsustainable external debt—including US$838 million in arrears to the IMF—and efforts to normalize relations with the international financial community. It is urgent that the international community make progress in moving Liberia onto the path toward debt relief. This effort hinges on securing the resources needed to finance the cost of IMF's debt relief to Liberia, which in turn could facilitate an arrears clearance operation for Liberia. The IMF Executive Board recently approved the modalities of a financing package to facilitate mobilizing the resources needed to provide debt relief to Liberia. In this context, I am encouraged by the pledged support from a number of bilateral donors and look forward to addditional commitments from a wide group of contributors to ensure that sufficient resources will be in place expeditiously for the Fund's debt relief to Liberia.

"As we move towards arrears clearance and debt relief, the IMF will continue to work closely with the Liberian authorities in the design of a strong economic program to help ensure that the resources made available as a result of debt relief will benefit the population at large."



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