- Following a Dakar seminar on trade and regional integration, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) praised the Senegalese government for its "significant progress" in reforming the national economy, achieving stability and reducing poverty. There was however a "potential to do even better," in particular regarding trade liberalisation.
IMF Deputy Managing Director Anne Krueger said this at a press conference in Dakar. "There is much of which the Senegalese authorities can be proud. Significant progress has been made towards achieving macroeconomic stability," Ms Krueger added.
During her brief visit, Ms Krueger at the seminar met with the Senegalese Prime Minister, the Finance Minister and Charles Konan Banny, Governor of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO). Further, she visited the GINNDI project that works to take Senegalese children off the streets and reunite children with their families.
After discussing with these Senegalese politicians and stakeholders, Ms Krueger said it would be important for national authorities in 2005 and beyond to "consolidate the gains from macroeconomic adjustment." So far, reforms and stability had led to debt reduction for Senegal as the country recently reached the completion point under the HIPC initiative.
- Poverty reduction is a high priority in Senegal, as it is in many African countries, Ms Krueger noted. "It is an objective that the International Monetary Fund shares." At the seminar, the IMF official had noted that there was a "near-universal agreement" over the Fund's strategy to couple prolonged rapid growth with a lasting reduction of poverty and rising living standards.
Macroeconomic stability, as achieved in Senegal, was "a precondition for high rates of growth," Ms Krueger said. "As more African countries have pursued economic reforms and set in place a stable macroeconomic framework, so we are beginning to see the fruits of those reforms, in terms of higher growth rates and falling inflation."
- But it is clear that Africa has the potential to do even better, she emphasised. "There is no reason why African countries should not achieve the same economic results attained elsewhere in the world, where growth has accelerated and poverty reduced."
The IMF official in this regard said that trade liberalisation was central to the prospects for higher growth. "No country has achieved rapid growth over a long period without opening up the economy to trade with the rest of the world. Those that have opened up, like Korea and Chile, have experienced higher rates of growth and significant poverty reduction," she said.
afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.
afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.