Press Release: IMF Managing Director Rodrigo de Rato to Visit Nigeria, Benin, Niger and Chad during May 17-20

May 12, 2005

Mr. Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will visit Africa for the third time as head of the IMF. During his trip he will visit Abuja, Nigeria (May 17); Cotonou, Benin (May 17-18); Niamey, Niger (May 18-19); and N'Djamena, Chad (May 19-20).

The main purpose of the visit is for Mr. de Rato to exchange views with a variety of political and civil society leaders about the Fund's role in Africa at a time of intensified focus of the international community on the continent.

In Nigeria, Mr. de Rato will address a symposium on capacity building, organized by the African Development Bank, to underscore the Fund's commitment to capacity building and to work with other multilateral organizations in Africa. He will also meet President Obasanjo and his economic team to discuss Nigeria's efforts to enhance growth and strengthen management of its oil revenues.

In Benin, he will participate in a conference for cotton producers from the region that will analyze the economic impact of the recent drop in world prices for cotton-producing African countries. The conference will provide an opportunity to discuss with government officials, private sector firms and farmers how the affected countries can best adjust to price changes, as well as to stress the need for openness from industrialized countries to commodity exports from Africa.

In Niger, Mr. de Rato will discuss with policymakers and other stakeholders the challenges of accelerating growth and poverty alleviation following significant debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. A visit to a non-governmental organization implementing social projects financed by the HIPC Initiative will provide insights how debt relief can increase resources on the ground for poverty reduction efforts.

In Chad, he will have an opportunity to discuss the challenges of transparency and accountability to achieve poverty alleviation in an oil-producing country. A visit to a camp with refugees from the Darfur region will give him a first-hand insight into the adverse impact of Africa's conflicts on the economy and living conditions.


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