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IMF Gives $34M To CAR After Asked Of China Belt and Road By Inner City Press and Cited Transparency

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Video
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - ESPN

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Jan 12 – When the International Monetary Fund held a press briefing about China and its Article IV review, on January 8, Inner City Press posed a question and got an answer, below.

Now on January 12 about the Central African Republic, the IMF says this: "The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the first and second reviews of the Central African Republic’s (CAR) economic and financial program supported by an Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement. Completion of the reviews enables the disbursement of SDR 23.87 million, about US$ 34.4million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to SDR 35.8 million, about US$ 51.6million.  In completing the two reviews, the Executive Board also approved the authorities’ request for waiver of non-observance of performance criteria.  CAR’s ECF arrangement was originally approved by the Executive Board on December 20, 2019 for SDR 83.55 million, about US$ 115.1 million, or 75 percent of the Central African Republic’s quota in the Fund) – See Press Release No 19/484.  The IMF-supported program aims to maintain macroeconomic stability, strengthen administrative capacity, governance and the business climate, and address the country’s protracted balance of payment needs.  Following the Executive Board discussion on CAR, Mr. Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, made the following statement:  “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on C.A.R.’s economy but appears to be somewhat contained." Watch this site.

On January 8 Inner City Press asked the IMF's Helge Berger, Mission Chief, about China's so-called Belt and Road Initiative: "Your Article IV report cites China's "overseas lending projects" amid "rising geopolitical tensions and economic and trade frictions." How does the IMF think that rising debt levels among African countries, and increased skepticism about the "Belt and Road" will impact or be addressed going forward? -Matthew Russell Lee, Inner City Press. Video here.

Berger responded about the IMF's work to provide lower income countries "breathing space." He said while the IMF generally welcomes the BRI it stresses the need for transparency, where the money is going.

(An aside: Inner City Press has reported on the CEFC China Energy Fund Committee's activities in Chad and Uganda and in the UN, on which the UN is UNresponsive.)

Other questions included China's digital currency (Inner City Press also reports on crypto-currency cases in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and elsewhere). Berger said when used overseas an issue is that residents could start using another country's currency, if it is easier.

We'll have more on this.


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