Statement by an IMF Staff Mission at the Conclusion of a Visit to the Central African Republic

Press Release No. 08/59
March 21, 2008

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Martin Petri, mission chief for the Central African Republic, visited Bangui during March 6-20, 2008 to conduct the second review of the authorities' program supported by an arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). The mission met with the Head of State, His Excellency Mr. François Bozizé, Prime Minister Faustin Archange Touadéra, Minister of State for Rural Development, Jean-Eudes Teya, Minister of State for Economy, Plan and International Cooperation Sylvain Maliko, Minister of State for Mining and Energy Sylvain Ndoutingai, Minister of Finance and Budget Emmanuel Bizot, other ministers and senior government and central bank officials, representatives of the private sector and civil society, and the donor community.

The mission issued the following statement in Bangui today:

"In 2007 economic recovery continued, with real GDP growth exceeding 4 percent and inflation declining to about 1 percent. Due mainly to lower current transfers than in the previous year, the external current account deficit increased significantly. Fiscal performance was satisfactory: revenues increased and expenditures were well controlled. Despite some delays, there was progress in structural reforms.

"Notwithstanding the slowdown in global growth and international oil price surge, economic growth will likely continue, with economic activity becoming more broad-based and underlying inflation remaining stable. The external current account deficit will further deteriorate, reflecting dependence on oil imports and competitive pressures from recent real exchange rate appreciation.

"The objectives for 2008 aim at sustaining growth at around 5 percent while preserving the macroeconomic and fiscal discipline. The execution of the 2008 budget will require strong administrative and policy measures to enhance revenue mobilization. Structural reforms will be pursued to further strengthen fiscal management capacity and to enhance the business climate.

"Notwithstanding some setbacks, overall performance under the PRGF-supported program has been satisfactory and, subject to approval by Fund management and continued implementation of program policies, the IMF Executive Board is expected to consider the second review under the PRGF arrangement in June 2008."



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