The IMF will consider efforts to combat corruption and improve governance in any future program with Equatorial Guinea, spokesman Gerry Rice told reporters Thursday (December 12) in Washington.
“In the case of Equatorial Guinea, the governance and anti-corruption elements of the possible program, again, are very important. We very much appreciate the concerns in this area expressed by civil society and others. And the program which is to be discussed with our executive board, that has not happened yet,” Rice told reporters about the relationship with the African country.
“The governance and the anti-corruption elements, that will be a very important part of that. For their part, the government of Equatorial Guinea has committed to adopt and implement a national strategy to improve governance and fight corruption. And again, that strategy will be a key plank of the program, of any program that would go forward between the IMF and Equatorial Guinea,” he noted.
The IMF supports requests by Lebanon’s caretaker Prime Minister Saad Hariri for technical assistance as that country struggles with deepening financial difficulties.
“We support the position of the international support group for the urgent formation of a new government to immediately implement a comprehensive and credible plan to restore economic stability. And on the IMF part I can tell you that we are open to supporting the authorities with technical advice as desired by Lebanon,” Rice announced.
And as Somalia is working to rebuild its economy, the IMF is looking for ways to help it clear its debt arrears and access new grants Rice said.
“We are working with Somalia to secure and with our members, I should say, working with our members to secure the financial resources necessary to clear the arrears to the IMF currently owed by Somalia. And importantly to cover the costs of debt relief,” Rice told reporters.
IMF rules prohibit new lending to countries that are in arrears to international financial institutions, but the Fund has been working with authorities to rebuild their finances.
“And I can tell you that the board will meet on this issue on December 18th, next week, to agree on how to finance the Fund’s contribution to debt relief for Somalia. So, this has been a priority issue for us in terms of trying to help Somalia. And this board meeting next week on this issue is, I would call it, an important step forward.”
And the IMF Executive Board is also planning to consider progress by Pakistan on its roughly $6 billion program.
“We had the preliminary assessment from staff after that mission to Pakistan and the board will meet to discuss that first review on Thursday, December 19th. So, that’s next week.
Rice reiterated that the staff mission to Pakistan had shown that authorities were on track toward their goals.
“What that indicates, just to try and answer the question a bit more, what that indicates is that all prior actions and performance criteria under the program with Pakistan have been met. And that the financing assurances needed for the program to go forward are in place.”
The next news briefing by the IMF will be on January 16.
A full copy of the transcript from this briefing may be found at IMF.org.