Press Release: IMF Mission Visits Bolivia

October 30, 2003

A staff team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Eliot Kalter visited La Paz from October 27−29, 2003 to hold early discussions with the new government on its economic program. The team met with the President of the Republic, His Excellency Carlos Mesa; the Minister of Economic Development, Xavier Nogales; the Minister of Finance, Javier Cuevas; the President of the Central Bank, Juan Antonio Morales; and the rest of the economic team.

The IMF currently provides support to Bolivia's economic program under a Stand-By Arrangement aimed at maintaining economic and financial stability and strengthening the financial system. The program has been adapted flexibly to changing circumstances to achieve these objectives, while ensuring adequate protection for the poor. Performance through end-September continued to be broadly in line with the program, while normal commercial and financial activity has been rapidly restored following the events of mid-October.

During the discussions, President Mesa and his team made clear their continuing commitment to an economic program that would allow the country to achieve sustained growth and reduce poverty while lowering public debt. The mission reiterated the IMF's readiness to work closely with the new government to provide continuing support for such a program. Moreover, the mission strongly welcomed the President's intention to build increased consensus for his economic policies with all sectors of Bolivian society, and to focus on programs that benefit the poorest groups.

Discussions with the Bolivian authorities will continue during the authorities' planned visit to Washington at the end of this week. A Fund mission is expected to return to La Paz in the near future for the third review of the Stand-By Arrangement and to continue discussions on a possible three-year program that could eventually be supported under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility.


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