An IMF staff team headed by Abdoul Aziz Wane visited Brazzaville from September 25 to October 4, 2017 to collect information, including to reassess the country’s debt, discuss cash management with the authorities, and conduct a scoping for a diagnostic study on governance issues in the Republic of Congo.
At the end of the mission, Mr. Wane issued the following statement:
“The mission wishes to thank the authorities for the excellent cooperation, including the sustained efforts of the Technical Committee, which helped obtain most of the information requested by IMF staff. The authorities reiterated their commitment to work diligently toward a Fund-supported program. The findings of the mission will inform the next steps toward a possible IMF-supported program to restore macroeconomic stability, and promote sustained and inclusive growth.
“The Republic of Congo faces significant macroeconomic imbalances. Economic activity is contracting further, while government deposits are declining. Against this backdrop, the government accumulated external and domestic arrears, despite a significant fiscal adjustment.
“Based on information provided by the authorities, the mission and the authorities estimate public and publicly-guaranteed debt as of end-July 2017 at CFAF 5,329 billion (about US$ 9.14 billion). In percentage of GDP, the mission estimates this level of debt at around 110 percent. This figure does not include debt under litigation nor domestic arrears accumulated since 2014. The mission welcomed the authorities’ commitment to take measures to restore debt sustainability in the medium-term with the support of their financial and legal advisors.
“The IMF team welcomed the authorities’ commitment to conduct a diagnostic study on governance issues, with assistance from the Fund, to identify visible and credible measures to improve governance and tackle corruption. The mission took note of the authorities’ intention to improve the governance of public enterprises, including oil companies. It encouraged them to strengthen the integrity of budget and cash management processes, and prioritize spending to avoid the accumulation of arrears.
The IMF team was received by President Denis Sassou-Nguesso. The team met President of the Senate Pierre Ngolo, Prime Minister Clément Mouamba, Finance Minister Calixte Nganongo; and other senior officials. The team also met with representatives of the diplomatic community, private sector, civil society, and development partners.