South Sudan Now Eligible for Interest-Free IMF Loans

Juba — The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has included South Sudan in a list of 72 low-income countries now eligible for concessional lending.

IMF's decision to include South Sudan was taken on 9 August after the latter became the 188th member in April.

The move, IMF said in a statement, now implies that South Sudan will benefit from the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust's (PRGT) interest-free loans.

Eligibility for PRGT lending is based on a member country's annual per capita income and ability to access international financial markets.

"Adding South Sudan to the list of PRGT-eligible countries allows the authorities to request concessional financing from the IMF in support of their economic program," partly reads the institution's statement, adding that such requests are subject to separate decisions by its Executive Board.

While meeting South Sudan president, Salva Kiir, in December 2011, the IMF's managing director, Christine Lagarde, acknowledged the formidable challenges the new nation faces, citing economic instability, weak institutions and oil revenue disputes with Khartoum.

Lagarde, assured Kiir that the IMF will assist South Sudan in meeting its challenges, through frequent policy dialogue and technical assistance.

The IMF has, since 2011, been providing technical assistance, training, and policy advice to South Sudanese authorities, in addition to engagement in areas of expertise, such as monetary and fiscal policies, exchange rate policy and operations, tax and customs administration, public financial management, central banking, and macroeconomic statistics.

The IMF is reportedly coordinating with key donors on a capacity-building program to support South Sudan through a US$10 million trust fund over the next three years.

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