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As IMF Approves $102M to Malawi Inner City Press Asked It About China Oil Moves

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon
BBC - Guardian UK - Honduras - The Source

NEW YORK, SDNY, Oct 2 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed media briefing on September 24, Inner City Press submitted questions including on Angola, Costa Rica and Zambia which IMF Spokesperson Gerry Rice took and answered. Video here.

 Now on October 2 on Malawi, this: "he Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today approved a disbursement of SDR 72.31 million (US$101.96 million or 52.1 percent of quota) to Malawi under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). This is the second emergency disbursement since the onset of the pandemic and will help finance Malawi’s urgent balance of payment and fiscal needs. It follows the Executive Board’s approval of the disbursement of SDR 66.44 million (US$91 million or 47.9 percent of quota) on May 1, 2020 (IMF Press Release No. 20/200).  Malawi’s economic outlook has worsened since the first RCF with the accelerated spread of the pandemic in the country and the deteriorating global and regional economic situation... Mr. Zhang, Deputy Managing Director and Chair, issued the following statement:  “The authorities are actively implementing measures to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and preserve macroeconomic stability. Key steps include strengthening the health care system, stepping up social spending, ensuring food security, and easing liquidity constraints in the banking system."

  On September 24 on the IMF's WebEx platform, Inner City Press asked, With the IMF's disbursement to Angola being based partly on China indicating a willingness to defer 2020 debts, what are the IMF's comments and thoughts on China's possible efforts to take an equity stake in some of Angola's oil fields?

   IMF Spokesperson Rice recounted the IMF's review and praised China's participation in grant programs. It's appreciated - but what about the move to take an equity stake in Angola's oil? This question was referred to China itself, but we've had no luck with that.

 On Costa Rica, Inner City Press asked, the Presidency has indicating it is seeking or will seek a $1.75 billion package from the IMF. What is the status, or any comment or description of the EFF process?

  Rice confirmed that is the size of the proposed program, and emphasized that the Legislative Assembly, whose president now reported calls the proposal not viable, had signed off on an earlier COVID-19 program. We'll see.

  Back in July 2020 IMF spokesperson Rice said, "We got some questions from Matthew Lee in New York, including on Zambia, and he was asking, what's the state of play? What's the IMF's thinking? What does the IMF think the role of debt to China in the nation's current situation?  I have spoken about Zambia recently here at the podium. In terms of the current status, yes, the Zambian authorities have requested IMF support for their economic program to restore macroeconomic stability, as well has assistance under our emergency financing to help address the human and the economic impact of the pandemic.  I can tell you, that a virtual IMF staff mission took place June 22 to July 10 to discuss the emergency financing request. Progress was made, but discussions continue as the authorities determine their policies and priorities in the context of their revised 2020 budget, as well as the medium-term fiscal stance needed to restore debt sustainability, revive growth and reduce poverty. That’s where we are on Zambia."

 Now Zambia is talking debt restructuring, or reportedly even default. We'll have more on this.

 At least the IMF answers Press questions. We'll have more on this - watch this site. 


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