Thursday, July 29, 2010

Burundi secures IMF loan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said it had approved a $10-million concessional loan to Burundi after a review of the Central African country's economic performance.

The IMF said the Burundian authorities were to be commended for their strong performance against the backdrop of the global financial crisis and a difficult post-conflict environment.

The money is being offered as part of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) programme, the IMF's main tool for medium-term financial support to low income countries.

Burundi's ECF programme was approved in July 2008 for about $70-million. The total amount disbursed so far, including the $10-million, comes to about $50-million, the IMF said.

"Burundi's economic outlook is positive, supported by strengthened reforms and governance, as well as efforts to continue to improve security conditions," IMF Deputy Managing Director Murilo Portugal said in the IMF statement, dated July 23.

"Solid policy implementation will be key to meeting Burundi's economic challenges over the medium term, and continued donor assistance will be necessary to support the authorities' efforts," he said.

Burundi is a small, landlocked, coffee-growing nation of eight million people. It is a member of the East African Community and is emerging from more than a decade of civil war that killed some 300 000 people.

Burundi is ranked the most corrupt nation in east Africa by watchdog Transparency International, coming at the top of a bribery index, ahead of Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.