December 17, 2004

IMF releases US $126.3 million under the PRGF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is to release about US $126.3 million to Zambia, following completion of the first economic performance review under a three-year Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). Deputy managing director and acting chair of the IMF, Takatoshi Kato, said after the decision to release the funds, "Zambia's economic performance continued to strengthen in 2004. This performance is particularly encouraging against the backdrop of the economic decline in the preceding two decades." He noted that, based on performance through the end of 2004, Zambia could reach the HIPC completion point by the second PRGF review in March/April next year, "provided that performance under the PRGF-supported programme remains strong ... In particular, it will be important that the authorities make further progress in strengthening public expenditure management, to help ensure that debt relief is used effectively."
On his state visit, Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano had before challenged African leaders to concentrate on developing the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) initiative to cure some of the problems the continent is facing. Speaking on arrival at the Lusaka International Airport Chissano emphasised that Africa should take a break from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programmes and develop its own initiative, the NEPAD, to provide an answer to some of the problems it was facing. He had also stressed that the greatest challenge Africa faced those days was poverty, which had been compounded by various factors like disease. President Mwanawasa, Cabinet ministers and some senior Government officials received Mr Chissano. (afrol News, Norway / The Times of Zambia, Ndola)

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