Ms. Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
issued the following statement today in Luanda at the conclusion of her visit to Angola:
"I wish to thank President Lourenço, State Minister for Economic and Social Development Nunes Junior, Minister of Finance Mangueira, Governor Massano and other senior officials for our productive exchange of views and their warm hospitality during my visit to Luanda. I would also like to express my gratitude to all stakeholders with whom I met, including women leaders.
"Angola has come a long way since the end of the civil war 16 years ago. The oil endowment allowed Angola to rebuild critical infrastructure, and progress has also been achieved in reducing poverty. Still, much remains to be done to reduce the economy's dependence on oil and its vulnerability to oil price fluctuations so that enough resources can be made available to improve living standards for all the Angolan people.
"The Government's Macroeconomic Stabilization Program and National Development Plan for 2018-22 are rightly focused on growth-friendly fiscal consolidation, greater exchange rate flexibility, and structural reforms to boost productivity. In this context, I commended the Government for their determined efforts to reduce the large budget deficit and the Banco Nacional de Angola for an orderly transition to a more flexible exchange rate regime. Progress on domestic revenue mobilization will also be important to help keep government debt on a sustainable path.
"Economic diversification in sectors other than oil is central to the success of the Government's development strategy. Key reforms in this area include improving the business climate, fostering competition in domestic markets, curbing monopolies, and leveling the playing field for foreign direct investment. Just as important is developing a social safety net to protect the most vulnerable and to generate equal opportunities across Angolan society.
"I strongly support the Government's focus on improving governance and combating corruption by strengthening checks and balances and tackling impunity and cronyism. I am also especially pleased that, under the recently approved program supported by the IMF, the Government is committed to improve gender issues.
"Indeed, the program, in the amount of US$3.7 billion, is designed to support the implementation of the authorities' policies by providing substantial resources and policy advice, coupled with technical assistance. With this program, the authorities aim at resuming sustainable economic growth, and improving the social conditions for all in Angola.
"I would like to reiterate the IMF's strong support for Angola and I look forward to continuing our productive partnership.
"Finally, I wish to thank the Angolan people for their generous hospitality and for welcoming me to their beautiful country."