18 January 2017

Uganda: IMF Chief Visit to Highlight Uganda's Economic Agenda

Photo: Cissy Makumbi/Daily Monitor
President Museveni flags off the Olwiyo-Gulu-Kitgum-Musingo road works at Anaka Town Council recently. The IMF plays an advisory role in many big infrastructural projects in the country.

Kampala — The Ugandan economy is currently experiencing headwinds and when the International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director Ms Christine Lagarde visits the country next week, she will be seeking to understand the long-term objective of reviving it.

This as the government pursues achieving middle-income status by 2020.

Ms Lagarde is expected to visit Uganda between January 25 and 28 in what she described as a trip that will help her understand Uganda's economic agenda.

"I hope to gain a deeper understanding of your governments' economic agenda, and discuss how the International Monetary Fund can best serve Uganda," Ms Lagarde said in a statement issued by the ministry of Finance.

On Friday last week, a meeting held at the IMF global headquarters in Washington DC confirmed visits to several African countries including Uganda, Central African Republic and Mauritius.

According to the ministry of Finance, Ms Lagarde is expected to participate in a number of public and private events while in the country including holding bilateral talks with President Museveni; the ministry of Finance and Bank of Uganda authorities.

On Friday January 27, she will deliver a public lecture at the Kampala Serena Hotel Conference Centre.

The meetings will emphasise the broader macro-economy of Uganda and also address matters such as debt and investment, among others.

The visit comes at a time Uganda's economy is attempting to recover from lower than anticipated growth in 2015/16.

A depreciating Shilling, high interest rates, inflation pressures and pre-election jitters all led the economy to grow at 4.8 per cent instead of the projected 5.8 per cent.

Debt accumulation

In its recent Policy Support Instrument (PSI), the IMF noted that Uganda was not at risk of defaulting on its debts but vulnerable if the level accumulation continues to grow at this pace.

In Uganda currently, the IMF conducts surveillance on economic and financial developments through the PSI. It also provides a level of technical assistance.

The third IMF role is to lend to countries with balance-of-payment challenges.

However, Uganda is not one of those countries getting that money.

On his part, the minister of Finance Mr Matia Kasaija described the visit as further enhancement of the already existing cordial and fruitful relations between Uganda and the IMF.

"Our relationship is historical as well as progressive as partners. It is, therefore, very good news that the chief executive of the IMF has confirmed Uganda as a key destination on the continent. We look forward to constructive engagement on a wide range of economic and financial issues amongst others during the visit," he said.

Ms Lagarde is the 11th managing director of the IMF.

She is also the first woman to hold the position after being selected by the IMF Executive Board in July 2011. She got her second five-year term in July 2016.

The last time such a high level official from the IMF visited Uganda was in 2007 when Mr Takatoshi Kato, the then deputy managing director, came into the country.

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