Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Statement by an IMF Mission to Burundi

BUJUMBURA, Burundi, November 24, 2009/ Press Release No. 09/426

A mission from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), led by Mr. Bernardin Akitoby, visited Burundi November 8-21, 2009 to conduct the third review of the government’s economic and financial program supported by an arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF).

The mission met with President Pierre Nkurunziza; the First Vice-President, Dr. Yves Sahinguvu; the Second Vice-President, Gabriel Ntisezerana; the President of the National Assembly, Pie Ntavyohanyuma; the President of the Senate, Gervais Rufyikiri; the Minister of Finance, Clotilde Nizigama; other key Ministers; and the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr Gaspard Sindayigaya. The mission had constructive discussions with members of the donor community and civil society.

The mission issued the following statement in Burundi on November 23, 2009:

“Performance under the PRGF-supported program has been broadly satisfactory. All quantitative performance criteria for September 2009 were observed, and structural reforms are moving ahead, including in the coffee sector. This performance has been achieved against the backdrop of the global financial crisis. Real GDP growth in 2009 is projected to moderate to 3½ percent, from 4½ percent in 2008, mainly reflecting lower private transfers and foreign direct investment, and electricity shortages. Headline inflation (end of period) is projected to decline from about 26 percent in 2008 to below the 9 percent the program envisaged. The macroeconomic outlook in 2010 is generally positive with real GDP projected to rise by 4 percent and inflation declining further to 7.5 percent. Downside risks include mainly the uncertain external environment and electricity shortages.

“For 2010, policy discussions focused mainly on the 2010 budget and the need to preserve macroeconomic stability and revive growth in the face of the challenging economic environment. The mission was encouraged by the authorities’ efforts to consolidate progress on revenue collection and reallocate spending to priority sectors. The mission encouraged the authorities to consolidate progress in good governance and deepen structural reforms, including in the coffee sector.

“The mission confirmed that the IMF will continue to help Burundi to address these challenges. The IMF Board is expected to consider the staff report on the third review of the PRGF-supported program in January 2010. The mission would like to thank the authorities for their warm hospitality and the very close and constructive cooperation.”

SOURCE: International Monetary Fund (IMF)