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IMF Disburses $18.4 to Mali, Sanogo & Arrest of PM No Problem

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, January 28 -- When the International Monetary Fund board voted Monday to disburse $18.4 million to Mali, it raised not only funds but questions.

   The IMF's embargoed press release recounted how an earlier IMF disbursement had been "derailed by the March 2012 coup d'etat and its aftermath."

   Inner City Press asked the IMF's head of mission Christian Josz what had changed, given that coup leader Amadou Sanogo is still a power in the Malian Army, and the prime minister Josz met with in November, Cheick Modibo Diarra, had since been arrested in his home and not allowed to leave the country.

   Josz replied that the change had been the willingness of donors to contribute to Mali -- a product of the French military intervention -- and the effect on GDP growth projections, which had fallen from 5.6% to negative 1.5% before going back up.

   The French military intervention, then, brought money to Mali through the IMF, run by France's former finance minister Christine Lagarde.

   Inner City Press asked a follow up, whether the IMF board had considered the various impacts on GDP growth if the African-led force AFISMA takes the lead instead of France, and if northern Mali is given political autonomy.

  Josz protested that the IMF only considers "macro-economics." But in this case, it seems that the sudden willingness of France and other Western donors to contribute, after bombing, is what turned things around for the IMF.

  In turn, the IMF says it is only disbursing funds because the Western donors are now willing. It's a circle, and sometimes it can be lucrative, if only to the tune of $18.4 million, to be the subject of a military intervention. Confidence can rise!

  Josz said that 95% of Mali's GDP is from the south, where a new coal mine in opening. He said a third mobile phone operator is opening in Mali. He compared the $18.4 million to a $110 million gap.

(Back on March 22, 2012, Inner City Press asked the IMF about the coup which had just occured in Mali and they respond with a quote from Josz: 'The economic program of the government of Mali supported by the IMF remains on track," click here for that.)

   Josz when he visited the country in November met also with Tienan Coulibaly, then Minister of Economy, Finance and Budget. A Tieman Coulibaly showed up at the UN in December as the Foreign Minister, and Inner City Press asked him about Sanogo and the arrest "in the airport" of then prime minister Cheick Modibo Diarra.

Tieman Coulibaly said of course Sanogo still has a role, and dispute where Cheick Modibo Diarra had been arrest -- not in the airport, but in his home. Video here from Minute 5:40. Is that better? Watch this site.

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