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IMF Answers on El Salvador and Sudan As Inner City Press Asks of Rule of Law, Drop in Bucket

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, May 20 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed press briefing on May 20, Inner City Press asked about El Salvador's bid for an IMF program while firing judges and the Attorney General, about Sudan's status and Macky Sall calling the IMF's 33 billion in SDRs (out of $650 billion SRDs) a "drop in the bucket." Interim video here, IMF video and transcript forthcoming.  Spokesperson Gerry Rice responded on each.

Inner City Press asked, "On El Salvador, which has reportedly requested a $1.3 billion multiyear loan program from the IMF, what is the IMF's view of the recent changes to the judiciary and a call that countries concerned with human rights  should use their leverage to insist that, before approval, the Salvadoran government restore the independence of state institutions that are vital to transparent governance and effective accountability for corruption, in line with the IMF’s commitment to address serious governance gaps in all its loans?"

  The IMF's Rice among other things said that the IMF's virtual mission to El Salvador is ongoing but that progress is being made. What about the rule of law?

Inner City Press asked, "Is the Sudan decision announced by President Macron done yet? What are the logistics? "Macron said that would be facilitated through a $1.5 billion bridge loan, which would be covered by member state pledges. When? It's said "China’s not on board yet"

  Rice said say that several steps remains, including lowering energy subsidies. (This is also an issue in Zambia, about which Inner City Press also asked.)

  Finally Inner City Press asked, "what is the IMF's response to the statement that of the $650 billion generated by the IMF SDRs, 'only $33bn is earmarked for African countries, which could be made available to them as early as September. Why such a small amount, a "drop in the bucket" as Macky Sall put it?'

  Rice acknowledge the numbers but quoted the Managing Director that more is needed. Transcript soon. 

   Back on March 11 in a question Inner City Press, given what it has reported on for the past three days was compelled to ask, it sent and asked, "On Honduras, given mounting evidence including in the trial of Geovanny Fuentes-Ramirez that high government officials are implicated in narco-trafficking, what are the IMF's comments on current programs and safeguards in place?"

  As noted, Spokesperson Rice said that IMF does not comment on (pending) judicial proceedings. At least he took the question.

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Back 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.

(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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