Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Angola To Enter Talks On IMF Assistance

LUANDA 7 August 2009 Sapa-AFP


Angola is to begin negotiations with the International Monetary
Fund (IMF) on a financing programme to help it cope with the global
economic slowdown, it was announced Friday.

Lamin Leigh, IMF Mission Chief for Angola, said in a statement
that the Fund had held productive talks with government, financial
institutions and key donors during a week-long visit to the

The parties agreed the IMF mission would return to Luanda in
September "to conduct program negotiations with a view to pave the
way for the IMF to help Angola weather the impact of the global
slowdown on its economy."

Relations between Angola and the IMF have been strained since
the end of the civil war in 2002 and the IMF has been critical of
Luand's management of its oil revenues.

But following a meeting between President Jose Eduardo Dos
Santos and IMF head Dominique Strauss-Kahn at the Group of 8 summit
in Italy in July, the Fund was invited to Angola to assess the
impact of the global financial crisis.

Angola vies with Nigeria as the largest oil producer in Africa
but is struggling to overcome a high poverty rate, with two thirds
of the population living on less than two dollars a day.

IMF talks with Angola on an economic support programme broke off
in 2007, as the country was then enjoying rapid growth on the back
of high oil prices.

However, the global economic crisis and the fall in oil at the
end of 2008 seriously dented Angola's earning, with foreign
reserves falling by 30 percent in the first six months of this

Previous government growth expectations of 11.8 percent have
been revised down to 6.2 percent and last week the country's budget
was cut from 3.1 trillion kwanzas (around 40 billion dollars) to
2.6 trillion kwanzas to factor in lower oil revenues, which account
for more than 90 percent of Angola's earnings.

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