Guinea Bissau: IMF approves post-conflict assistance program

30 January 2008

Bissau, Guinea Bissau, 30 Jan – The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved the Emergency Post-Conflict Assistance Program (EPCA) for Guinea Bissau, the Guinean finance minister, Issuf Sanhá said Tuesday in Bissau.

According to Sanhá, the agreement was approved Monday in Washington, at a meeting of the IMF board, during which the head of the IMF mission to Guinea Bissau, Catherine McAuliffe, presented an exhaustive report on the macro-economic situation in Guinea Bissau.

The Post-Conflict program, which will make it possible for Guinea Bissau to re-launch regular cooperation with the international financial community, is an instrument that the Guinean authorities have sought since 2001, when the IMF cut off its assistance to the Bissau government due to excessive deficits in its public accounts.

Speaking to Portuguese news agency Lusa, the Guinean finance minister said that approval of the IMF program would not only make it possible to unblock a US$5.6 million package of budgetary support, but also give “a sign of encouragement” to the international donor community providing assistance to Guinea Bissau, by funding development programs.

The IMF was expected to immediately unblock US$2.8 million for budgetary support, Sanhá said, and the funding should be available to Bissau “within two to three weeks.”

Approval of the post-conflict assistance program should also make it possible for the Guinean authorities to call a meeting with the country’s main donors for mobilization of additional resources to finance several development programs, said the Finance minister. (macauhub)