Thursday, October 5, 2017

IMF team visited Brazzaville (Republic of Congo) from September 25 to October 4, 2017

An IMF staff team headed by Abdoul Aziz Wane visited Brazzaville from September 25 to October 4, 2017 to collect information, including to reassess the country's debt, discuss cash management with the authorities, and conduct a scoping for a diagnostic study on governance issues in the Republic of Congo.

At the end of the mission, Mr. Wane issued the following statement:

"The mission wishes to thank the authorities for the excellent cooperation, including the sustained efforts of the Technical Committee, which helped obtain most of the information requested by IMF staff. The authorities reiterated their commitment to work diligently toward a Fund-supported program. The findings of the mission will inform the next steps toward a possible IMF-supported program to restore macroeconomic stability, and promote sustained and inclusive growth.

"The Republic of Congo faces significant macroeconomic imbalances. Economic activity is contracting further, while government deposits are declining. Against this backdrop, the government accumulated external and domestic arrears, despite a significant fiscal adjustment.

"Based on information provided by the authorities, the mission and the authorities estimate public and publicly-guaranteed debt as of end-July 2017 at CFAF 5,329 billion (about US$ 9.14 billion). In percentage of GDP, the mission estimates this level of debt at around 110 percent. This figure does not include debt under litigation nor domestic arrears accumulated since 2014. The mission welcomed the authorities' commitment to take measures to restore debt sustainability in the medium-term with the support of their financial and legal advisors.

"The IMF team welcomed the authorities' commitment to conduct a diagnostic study on governance issues, with assistance from the Fund, to identify visible and credible measures to improve governance and tackle corruption. The mission took note of the authorities' intention to improve the governance of public enterprises, including oil companies. It encouraged them to strengthen the integrity of budget and cash management processes, and prioritize spending to avoid the accumulation of arrears. 

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Presidential elections in Burundi

A commission set up by President Pierre Nkurunziza was expected to recommend to parliament that Burundi lift its two-term limit on presidential terms (East African). The commission was set up after the political crisis that followed Nkurunziza's announcement that he would run for a third term as office.

Piracy Worldwide

The first half of 2016 saw ninety-eight successful or attempted pirate attack on ships worldwide, the lowest number since 1995 (FT), according to the International Chamber of Commerce. Attacks off Somalia and Indonesia have dropped while incidents off the coast of Nigeria have risen. Experts credit increased surveillance of waters, ship owners' growing willingness to employ armed guards, and modifications that make ships more difficult to board.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Orange Drives Digital Transformation in the Middle East and Africa

Orange Drives Digital Transformation in the Middle East and Africa with New Innovations in Smart Metering, Solar Power, NFC and Customer Experience
The Middle East and Africa remains a key growth contributor for Orange
PARIS, France, July 28, 2016/ -- Speaking at its 4th annual strategy and activity update for press and analysts in London on 28 July, Ramon Fernandez, Deputy CEO and Chief Finance and Strategy Officer, Bruno Mettling, CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa (MEA) (, and Jean-Marc Vignolles, Chief Operating Officer for Orange MEA, outlined their vision and priorities, identifying a number of new sectors and activities in which Orange can play a key role in delivering digital transformation to this region.

Bruno Mettling, CEO, Orange MEA, commented: “The Middle East and Africa remains a key growth contributor for Orange. Today, we are present in 21 countries in the zone, with more than one in 10 Africans being Orange customers. We are investing for the long term and plan to continue playing a major role in the digital transformation of the region, from providing infrastructure and access to communications services through to developing new models that will help the region grow.”

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

EU Expands Mediterranean Mission Around Libya

EU foreign ministers said they would expand and extend by a year Operation Sophia, a naval mission to combat human smuggling across the Mediterranean from Libya. EU forces will train the Libyan coastguard and Navy (WSJ) and intercept arms smugglers in the Mediterranean (Libya Herald) they say are supplying the self-proclaimed Islamic State. The United Kingdom is also reportedly considering sending military personnel to Libya to train the coastguard (Middle East Eye). Operation Sophia currently comprises five ships and three helicopters (DW), which the EU says has saved sixteen thousand migrants from drowning and has arrested seventy-one suspected human smugglers.