Press Release: Statement by the IMF Mission Chief for Cameroon

February 9, 2006

Press Release No. 06/30

The following statement was issued today in Yaoundé by Mr. Dhaneshwar Ghura, the IMF mission chief for Cameroon:

"The IMF mission that visited Yaoundé during January 27-February 9, 2006 finalized discussions in principle on the first review under Cameroon's economic and financial program supported by the IMF through an arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), adopted by the IMF Executive Board on October 24, 2005.

"The mission found that program implementation was satisfactory through end-December 2005. The key areas covered during this period were: macroeconomic stability, transparency and efficiency in public finance management, reform of public enterprises, and good governance. Successful implementation of the related measures will allow the consolidation of positive results obtained during the first half of 2005. The authorities reaffirmed their commitment to continue efforts, initiated in 2005, to implement their reform plan to achieve their growth and poverty reduction objectives.

"Cameroon's medium term prospects in 2006 remain encouraging with real growth picking up to some 4 percent, and average inflation remaining below 3 percent. Growth in the non-oil economy is expected to be driven by output expansion in the forestry sector and the substantial increase in public investment, particularly in priority sectors. Successful program implementation in 2005 has helped to correct fiscal slippages that occurred in 2004.

"Together with a World Bank team, the mission assessed implementation of triggers for the achievement of the completion point under the Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. The two teams and the authorities concluded that most triggers have been successfully met, and that good progress was being made on remaining measures.

"The completion point for Cameroon could be presented to the Executive Boards of the IMF and World Bank in the second quarter of 2006 provided that the remaining HIPC triggers are implemented on a timely basis, the PRGF-supported program remains on track, the debt reconciliation is completed on a timely basis, and the authorities prepare a PRSP progress report covering 2005 soon."


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