Press Release: Statement by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde at the Conclusion of her Visit to Nigeria

December 20, 2011

Press Release No. 11/478
December 20, 2011

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde made the following statement today in Lagos at the conclusion of her visit to Nigeria.

“It has been a pleasure to visit Nigeria on my first trip to Africa as Managing Director. I came here primarily to listen to our African members, and to find out how we can better tailor support to countries in this region in the current difficult global environment.

“I have had very productive discussions with President Goodluck Jonathan, Federal Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for Economy Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. They, along with their colleagues, play a key role in economic transformation here in Nigeria—a country of abundant resources, wealth of people, and vast potential. I also had the privilege of meeting representatives of civil society organizations and the private sector, including many women business leaders. All in all, this visit has been a wonderful chance for me to witness first-hand the spirit of opportunity and leadership that befits Africa’s most populous country.

“Nigeria recognizes the need to maintain the reforms and policy implementation that helped it weather the crisis of 2008-09. Nigeria’s own Transformation Agenda presents a worthy platform to guard against risks and promote shared growth. Most importantly, it is an agenda for Nigeria, driven by Nigerians.

“Three aspects of the government’s agenda strike me as crucial. First, it is vital that natural resource revenues be channeled more effectively toward the infrastructure investment needed for growth and jobs. Second, promoting a more diversified economy will help Nigeria better withstand shocks and provide for more broad-based growth, again with opportunities and jobs for the entire population being the priority. Thirdly, continued financial sector reform should build on the impressive progress in resolving the recent banking crisis by further strengthening regulation and supervisory practices, and increasing access to credit. The IMF will do all it can to help support Nigeria in achieving its objectives.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Nigerian authorities for their warm welcome and generous hospitality.”


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