Propel structural reforms, African nations urged

INTERNATIONAL Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Christine Lagarde says structural reforms should be strengthened to propel growth, which is currently ‘too low for too long and is benefiting too few’.
Ms Lagarde has also expressed concern that prospects for sub-Saharan Africa remain subdued.
Ms Lagarde, who last April called for a three-pronged approach – monetary policy, fiscal policy and structural demand – last week urged ministers of Finance and central bank governors to ensure that policies are anchored in credible and medium-term frameworks.
Zambia is embarking on home-grown structural reforms and is also engaging with the IMF in a quest to revive the economy, currently affected by the falling commodity prices on the international market.
“We believe that there is more policy than meets the eye. By exploiting synergies between these three policies, we can generate more space to help the economies …We also believe that each country has something to offer,” she said at a press briefing on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank annual general meetings.
Zambia is being represented by ministers of Finance and National Planning and Development Felix Mutati and Lucky Mulusa respectively, and Bank of Zambia governor Denny Kalyalya, among other officials from Government and the central bank.
She also said time has come for the world to harness international cooperation to achieve the much-needed global growth.
“We believe that there has to be more international cooperation, because it will benefit all countries. If they pull together in the same direction and in a more coordinated way, positive spill-overs will reinforce each other,” she said.
Ms Lagarde, however, said inclusive benefits are important in the advancement of international cooperation and the need to address the inequalities by ensuring strong safety international nets so that countries that feel at risk due to policies determined elsewhere, have the tools and adequate financing,
She said the IMF board has since approved the extension of zero interest rates on all fund concessional facilities until 2018.
On sub-Saharan African countries, Ms Lagarde said the fund will develop its technical assistance, training and help in building capacity so that capacity to develop and deliver is accelerated.

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