IMF Projects Economic Growth Rebound for Cameroon To 4%

The International Monetary Fund also approved the third disbursement of FCFA 43 Billion under the Extended Credit Facility Agreement with the government under the able leadership of President Paul Biya.

Shawn-Nathan EPANG

The International Monetary Fund, IMF, has said Cameroon’s macroeconomic outlook for 2018 remains positive. “Growth is expected to rebound to 4%, driven by the onset of gas production, construction activities for the 2019 African Cup of Nations (CAN), and improved energy supply, while inflation should remain low. Over the medium term, growth ought to gradually reach its potential of 5–5 ½ per cent, supported by the coming on stream of key energy and transport infrastructure and increasing private investment,” a release from the Bretton Wood institution following the second review meeting last July 6 reads. Growth is estimated to have decelerated to 3.2 percent in 2017 mainly due to a steep decline in oil production despite the gradual rebound in international prices.

The completion of the review during a meeting of the board in Washington D.C on July 6, 2018 which showed that the 2018 economic outlook for Cameroon remains positive, paved the way for the disbursement of 77.8 million US dollars (about FCFA 43 billion) to the country.

The ECF, worth 680.7 million US dollars signed in June 2017 between Cameroon and the IMF, is intended to support economic and financial reforms in Cameroon over a period of three years. The approved disbursement would be the third of its kind. Some 171.3 million US dollars (circa 97 billion) was provided in July 2017 while another disbursement of 117.2 million US dollars was granted in December same year. The total amount disbursed at the moment stands at about 366 million US dollars.

The disbursements are generally approved after mid-term evaluation meetings held and following the completion of article IV consultations. The article requires that IMF sends a team to the country under review to discuss with policy makers and gather economic and financial information. The report of the team forms the basis of discussions of the board. This was the aim of the visit of African Department Director, Abebe Aemro Sélassié, to Cameroon June 5.

It was therefore after deliberations on his report that the executive board meeting on July 6, 2018 concluded that the macroeconomic outlook for 2018 remains positive, with growth expected to rebound to 4 percent (from 3.2 per cent in 2017) driven by the onset of gas production and construction activities for the 2019 African Cup of Nations.

It was noted in the press release issued after the meeting that the government has adopted a comprehensive economic reform programme to restore fiscal and external sustainability and buttress private sector-led inclusive growth, supported by the IMF’s ECF arrangement.

Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director, and Acting Chair, said financial sector and structural reforms made by Cameroon would reduce vulnerabilities and address remaining competitiveness bottlenecks. An executive board assessment advised government to fully adhere to the revised 2018 fiscal targets and save any extra revenue from increased oil prices.

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