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IMF Answered Inner City Press on COVID-19 in Cameroon Now $78M To Burundi Under RCF

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon Video
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SDNY COURTHOUSE, July 27 – When the International Monetary Fund held its biweekly embargoed press briefing on July 15, Inner City Press asked about crypto-currency legislation in Paraguay and again El Salvador, about the assassination in Haiti and COVID-19 lack of transparency in Cameroon.  Spokesperson Gerry Rice responded on each. Short video on Twitter here; YouTube here.

Now on July 27 from the IMF on Burundi - whose sending of "peacekeeping" troops to CAR is said to be stalled by human rights violations, though the UN won't answer - this: "A team from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) led by Ms. Mame Astou Diouf, Mission Chief for Burundi conducted a virtual mission during June 23–July 26, 2021 to hold discussions on a request for financial assistance under the IMF’s Rapid Credit Facility (RCF).  At the end of the mission, Ms. Mame Astou Diouf issued the following statement:  “The Burundian authorities and the IMF have reached a staff-level agreement on economic and structural policies that could be supported by a disbursement of SDR 53.9 million (about US$ 78 million) under the RCF to address the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The staff level agreement is subject to IMF management approval and Executive Board consideration, planned for September 2021.  “The Burundian economy was moderately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Staff estimate that real GDP contracted by about one percent in 2020."

On July 15 Inner City Press asked, "On Paraguay and crypto-currency, what is the IMF's response to the July 14 announcement of the "Bitcoin Bill" there? And, if any updates on El Salvador."

For the IMF, Rice said he did not have any comparator on Paraguay - yet? - and he said that discussions with El Salvador about a program continue. He emphasized that El Salvador has clarified that "holding Bitcoin is optional."

Inner City Press on Cameroon asked, among other things, if there was any meat on the bones of calls for transparency, giving the missing COVID-19 money. Rice said the IMF had met with the women leaders who wrote to it, and that a third RCF facility will be considered by the IMF Board in the coming weeks. Watch this site.

  On Haiti, after Inner City Press asked about the assassination and where things stand, Rice for the IMF condemned the attack and said that the form of future support cannot be described but that the IMF looks forward to working with the incoming government.

Watch this site.

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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