Statement at the Conclusion of an IMF Staff Mission to Niger

Press Release No. 09/296
September 4, 2009

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Ms. Laurence Allain visited the Republic of Niger from August 24 to September 4, 2009 to hold discussions on the third review of the program supported by the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). The mission met with the Minister of Economy and Finance of Niger, His Excellency Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, and held discussions with other senior government officials. The mission also met with representatives of the private sector and civil society.

Ms. Allain issued the following statement today in Niamey:

“The mission noted that Niger’s economy has largely been spared from the global economic and financial turmoil. Nevertheless, economic growth is expected to slow down to 1 percent in 2009 as a result of the decline in agricultural production, despite buoyant non-agricultural growth. After a sharp increase in 2008, inflation will decline following the reduction in international food and oil prices and the excellent agricultural harvest in 2008/2009.

“In this context, the mission welcomes the satisfactory implementation of the program at end-June, as all quantitative performance criteria were met. In particular, the mission noted the good revenue performance and prudent expenditure policy. In line with these developments, the authorities are expected to meet their budgetary objectives for 2009.

“With agricultural growth returning to trend and continued expansion of the telecommunications, transport and mining sectors, economic growth could reach 5 percent in 2010. Meanwhile, consistent with a global environment of moderate price increases, inflation in Niger is expected to remain around 2 percent. The mission reached a broad agreement on the main priorities of the 2010 budget currently under preparation. The authorities and the mission also agreed on a package of measures to strengthen public financial management and the transparency of natural resources management. In light of the uncertain external environment, the mission urged the authorities to take all necessary steps to mobilize the external financing included in the program, and prepare contingency plans in the event of delays in external support.

“The mission participated in a seminar organized by the Ministry of Economy and Finance on the challenges that the sharp increase in oil and mining revenue expected from 2012 onward could raise for macroeconomic management. Based on the experience of other resource-rich countries, the mission underscored the importance of pursuing sound macroeconomic policies, strengthening public financial management and transparency, and diversifying the economy.

“The mission wishes to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality and the high quality of the technical discussions.”



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