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IMF approves new three-year $120 mln loan to Niger

By on March 17, 2012

The International Monetary Fund on Friday approved a new three-year $120.9 million loan arrangement for Niger to support reforms needed to absorb growing oil and mining activities.

The IMF said it would immediately disburse $17.28 million to Niger, a poor semi-arid West African nation. One of the world’s top uranium producers, Niger could see its fortunes boosted considerably as Africa’s newest crude oil producer.

The IMF forecast that gross domestic product in Niger will rise by 13.4 percent in real terms in 2012. Investments in a large new uranium mine and new oil output should sustain economic activity beyond 2012, it said.

IMF Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara said policies under the IMF program will help to strengthen public finance and debt management and put in place a transparent legal framework for the natural resources sector.

He said Niger’s 2012 budget was “well aligned with the authorities’ growth and poverty reduction program.” Meanwhile, fiscal policy was appropriately geared toward creating fiscal space for higher development spending, while ensuring debt does not become unsustainable.

Profits from oil production and more domestic revenues should finance the planned investment, Shinohara added.


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