IMF and Niger Reach Service-Level Agreement on $53 Million Loan


The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen outside the headquarters building in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2018. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas/File Photo

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DAKAR, May 17 (Reuters) – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Niger have reached a staff-level agreement on a first program review that will see a disbursement of around $53 million if approved in June, the IMF announced on Tuesday.

The staff-level deal is subject to approval by IMF management and the board, which is expected to meet in June. Completion of the review would allow disbursement to cover external financing needs, the IMF said in a statement.

The IMF in December approved a three-year loan agreement for Niger worth about $276 million to help it recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

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“Program performance through end-March 2022 has been broadly satisfactory and most quantitative macroeconomic targets have been met,” the IMF said of the deal.

Economic growth is expected to rebound to 6.9% in 2022 from 1.3% in 2021 thanks to agricultural production and large-scale investment projects linked to an oil pipeline to Benin, he said. However, inflation remains high due to food price pressures, the IMF said.

Niger is located in the semi-arid Sahel region, where armed Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have destabilized swaths of territory in recent years. They have carried out regular attacks that have killed thousands and displaced millions.

Niger ranks last out of 189 countries in the United Nations’ Human Development Index, which measures health, education and quality of life.

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Reporting by Nellie Peyton Editing by James Macharia Chege

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