Young job seeker is interviewed at a job fair in Barcelona. Spain's youth unemployment remains among the highest in the European Union. (Photo: Gustau Nacarino/Reuters/Newscom)

Young job seeker is interviewed at a job fair in Barcelona. Spain's youth unemployment remains among the highest in the European Union. (Photo: Gustau Nacarino/Reuters/Newscom)

IMF Survey: IMF to Deliver Debt Relief to Liberia

November 13, 2007

  • IMF acknowledges "generous support" and efforts of world leaders
  • Arrears clearance, new IMF financing will enable debt relief delivery
  • IMF to continue to support post-conflict recovery in Liberia

Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn said November 12 the IMF has secured sufficient financing pledges from member countries to allow the IMF to provide debt relief to Liberia.

IMF to Deliver Debt Relief to Liberia

Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf at IMF headquarters: "encouraging track record of macroeconomic management," IMF says (IMF photo)

COUNTRIES PLEDGE FINANCING

When these pledges, totaling around $842 million, are formalized, a process will be followed of arrears clearance and new IMF financing that will enable the delivery of HIPC Initiative and other debt relief to Liberia.

Hailing a "breakthrough" in financing, Strauss-Kahn said it represented "a critical step in moving Liberia onto a path toward comprehensive debt relief." He said the IMF would continue to support post-conflict recovery in the country, "building on Liberia's many achievements over the past two years."

Strauss-Kahn thanked IMF member countries for "generous support," citing "efforts of many leaders around the world" including low income countries, in securing the financing. He also acknowledged roles played by Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and her economic team, and World Bank President Robert Zoellick.

Track record

Johnson-Sirleaf took office in January 2006, leading a country that was emerging from a 14-year civil war that ended three years earlier. The latest IMF staff report on the country's economy says economic activity remains buoyant, with GDP growth projected at around 8 percent in 2007.

Strauss-Kahn noted that, despite difficult post-conflict circumstances, the Liberian government had established an encouraging track record of macroeconomic management and reforms that the IMF has supported through technical assistance and policy advice.

"IMF staff are currently finalizing discussions with the Liberian authorities on a three-year, IMF-supported program, so that Liberia can build upon the initial economic recovery, maintain the strong growth needed to reduce poverty, and restore debt sustainability," Strauss-Kahn added.

The agreement follows talks between the IMF and the Liberian government during the IMF-World Bank Annual Meetings in October. Former IMF managing director Rodrigo de Rato said in an October 18 statement that it was "urgent that the international community make progress in moving Liberia onto the path toward debt relief." De Rato said the effort hinged on securing the resources needed to provide debt relief to the country.


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