Statement by IMF Staff Mission to GabonPress Release No. 10/90
March 15, 2010
A mission of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Mr. John Wakeman-Linn visited Libreville from March 3-12, 2010 to discuss Gabon’s emerging economic plan and the new government’s priorities and to consider how the IMF can best assist the authorities in their efforts to strengthen the Gabonese economy.
The mission issued the following statement on March 12 in Libreville:
“The IMF mission had constructive discussions with the Head of State, HE Mr. Ali Bongo Ondimba, Prime Minister Mr. Paul Biyoghé, Mr. Magloire Ngambia, Minister of Economy, Trade, Industry and Tourism, Mr. Blaise Louembe, Minister of Budget, Public Accounts and Civil Service, responsible for the government reform, Mr. Régis Immongault, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Mr. Julien Nkoghé Bekalé, Minister of Mines, Oil and Hydrocarbons as well as with Mr. Denis Meporewa, the National Director of the BEAC, and other high level officials of the Republic of Gabon. The mission also met representatives of donors.
“The Gabonese economy went through a difficult year in 2009 due to the unusual domestic environment because of painful social developments and the preparation of the presidential elections on the one hand and to the unfavorable international economic situation on the other. Thus, economic results set in the stand-by agreement were not all achieved in 2009.
“The IMF mission was apprised of the emerging economic plans and of the new government’s priorities for 2010 which aim at promoting the Gabonese economy, including through the implementation of a very ambitious investment program, the improvement of the business environment and better governance.
“The IMF mission indicated its willingness to support the authorities in the implementation of their program. However, the mission believes that it is crucial to also emphasize maintaining macro-economic stability while avoiding inflationary pressures which negatively impact the population and fiscal sustainability. The mission advises the authorities to remain ready to revisit their expenditure plans in the context of the 2010 budget and in the medium term if they want to reach their objectives of promoting macro-economic stability and fiscal sustainability.
“Although investment is necessary for Gabon’s long-term growth and development, the government’s very ambitious investment plan, focusing in large part on infrastructure, may not bring the expected results. The mission encouraged the authorities to review the pace of investment acceleration and to rapidly put to the test the new measures taken to improve efficiency and rationalize the public expenditure chain, focusing mainly on government investment expenditures.
“Within the framework of structural reforms, the mission supports the government’s focus on improving governance. The mission underlines the close connection between the improvement of governance and the successful diversification of the Gabonese economy.
“IMF staff look forward to continuing discussions on the best way to support the government’s efforts to strengthen Gabon’s economy.”