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IMF Answers on Sudan and Cambodia As Inner City Press Asks of Prices and Human Rights

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

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Feb 25 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed press briefing on February 25, Inner City Press asked for the status of programs and talks with Sudan, Cambodia and Zambia. Spokesperson Gerry Rice answered on each, videos here and here and here.

 On Sudan, Inner City Press asked, "what is the IMF comment on, including confirming its role in, Sudan’s central bank sharp devaluation of  the currency on Sunday, ascribed to trying to 'unify official and black-market exchange rates in an effort to access debt relief'?

   Spokesperson Rice acknowledged there may be "temporary" inflation but praised the move and said there is help or support coming from donors and the international community. We'll see.

  On Cambodia, Inner City Press asked: "state media quote the IMF praising the government and stating that  the IMF will continue to provide technical assistance as well as further capability building in order to strengthen the resilience and development of the Cambodian banking sector. True? Inner City Press added in a question about the crackdown on land protesters, and environmental issues.

  Spokesperson Rice described the IMF's cooperation with Cambodia but alluded to oversight, mentioning real estate. Transcript to follow.

   On Zambia, Inner City Pres aksed please describe the status of the talks, which started on 11 February, are due to end on 3 March, and comment on reports that no program will be possible before the election, spending will balloon and Zambia will, reportedly, increasingly turn to loans from China in exchange for copper concessions?

  Spokesman Rice said, perhaps understandably, that while the talks are ongoing through March 3, not much can be said. There will be a press release after.

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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.

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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