Press Release: IMF Concludes Staff Visit to Guinea-Bissau
January 14, 2011Press Release No. 11/9
January 14, 2011
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Paulo Drummond visited Bissau January 10–14, 2011. The mission met with President Malam Bacaí Sanhá, Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, Minister of Finance José Mario Vaz, Minister of Economy Helena Embaló, BCEAO National Director João Fadía, other government ministers and representatives of civil society, the private sector and the donor community.
At the conclusion of the visit, the mission issued the following statement:
“In December 2010, the Boards of Directors of the IMF and the World Bank’s International Development Association decided to support US$1.2 billion in debt relief for Guinea-Bissau. The IMF Executive Board also completed the first review under Guinea-Bissau’s Extended Credit Facility (ECF)1 arrangement.
“The debt relief significantly reduces the size of Guinea-Bissau’s debt and follows continuous progress made in recent years in strengthening macroeconomic management.
“Economic performance under the ECF-supported program has been satisfactory, and the authorities have made progress on structural reforms. We are encouraged by the authorities’ commitment to implementing their reform program aimed at raising economic growth and reducing poverty.
“As the authorities in Guinea-Bissau continue to implement their economic program, the IMF mission plans to return to Bissau in March to review performance under the ECF.”
1 The ECF is a concessional IMF facility for low-income countries. ECF-supported programs are based on country-owned poverty reduction strategies adopted in a participatory process involving civil society and development partners and articulated in the country's Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper. ECF loans carry a zero interest rate until end-2011 and an annual interest rate of no more than 0.5 percent thereafter. The loans are repayable over 10 years with a 5½ -year grace period on principal payments.