IMF Reviews Georgia’s Arrangement
An IMF mission visited Tbilisi in late October to conduct the first review under Georgia’s 18-month, $750 million Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) and confirmed that end-September targets for international reserves, net domestic assets of the central bank, and the overall fiscal deficit were met.
Because of its fundamental strengths, the Georgian economy is well placed to recover from the August 2008 armed conflict, which created the need for an IMF loan. Nonetheless, Georgia is not immune to the impact of the unfolding global financial turmoil. Foreign capital inflows, already affected by the conflict, may be further delayed.
An October 22 donor conference in Brussels resulted in pledges of about $4.5 billion for the country. This support will help finance much-needed social and reconstruction spending and contribute to the recovery of economic growth.
Unregulated Investment Schemes
The IMF’s Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Center (CARTAC) sponsored a three-day meeting on understanding and combating unregulated investment schemes, in collaboration with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and the Jamaican Financial Services Commission.
The meeting brought together 70 Caribbean participants to discuss pyramid-type schemes. “Pyramid schemes are a growing problem in the Caribbean,” said Therese Turner-Jones, CARTAC’s Program Coordinator.
IMF Congratulates Barack Obama
IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn extended congratulations to U.S. President-elect Barack Obama following his victory in the November 4 election.
“This is a historic occasion for the United States, and represents the best of the ideals that we in the international community strive to embody,” Strauss-Kahn said in a statement. “I look forward to working closely with President-elect Obama and the U.S. Administration in the period ahead in dealing expeditiously and forcefully with the serious challenges facing the U.S. and global economies at the present time.”
Cambodia’s Growth Eases
Following several years of very strong performance, Cambodia’s economy “faces a number of challenging headwinds,” an IMF mission team said in a November 7 statement following its annual consultation with the country. Since 2004, Cambodia’s economy had been growing at more than 10 percent a year.
But growth has eased over the course of 2008, and the economy has recently begun to feel the effects of global financial stress, said the mission. Garment exports and tourist arrivals are slowing, reflecting a downturn in key trading partners’ economies as well as a strain on competitiveness owing to a significant appreciation of both the riel and U.S. dollar combined with high domestic inflation.
These factors are expected to lead to an easing of Cambodia’s growth to 6½ percent in 2008, and a further slowing to about 4¾ percent in 2009, the statement said.
Kyrgyz Republic Seeks IMF Support
The IMF and the authorities of the Kyrgyz Republic have reached an agreement in principle on an economic program supported by an 18-month arrangement under the Exogenous Shocks Facility. This agreement, which requires the approval of the IMF Executive Board, would provide financial support of at least $60 million.
The authorities seek to address the adverse consequences of the exogenous shocks that have hit the Kyrgyz economy, including the increase in international food and energy prices and the shortfall in domestic power generation due to low water levels in the Toktogul reservoir. They also aim to manage the effects of the slowdown in regional economic growth and potential spillovers from the international financial crisis.
The Tanzanian government and the IMF are jointly sponsoring a high-level conference in Dar es Salaam on March 10–11 to discuss how Africa can meet the challenge of sustaining and building on its recent economic successes.
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