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Vol 50 No 21

Published 23rd October 2009


Brazzaville counts on France and the IMF

Having stolen another election, President Sassou-Nguesso’s regime expects no foreign censure for its diversion of state funds

Reports from auditors commissioned by the International Monetary Fund and World Bank reveal that Congo-Brazzaville is still not meeting its promises to introduce transparency into its oil accounts. Yet it is still on course for forgiveness of its international debts (AC Vol 50 No 19). Under heavy French pressure, Congo was admitted to the IMF's Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) programme in March 2006 and almost US$3 billion of its $9 bn. foreign debt was cancelled; once it reaches 'completion point', debt repayments will continue to fall sharply and even more concessional finance should flow. A main condition of the programme was that President Denis Sassou-Nguesso's government would 'address serious concerns about governance and financial transparency'. Sassou knows how to win IMF support: not only does he benefit from France's backing, he knows the IMF is reluctant to push a policy quarrel to the brink for fear that Congo ­ like Angola and Equatorial Guinea ­ might break off relations, leaving the IMF with even less influence.

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