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IMF reaches agreement with Benin Republic to extend its $658 million credit facility

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF), has reached what it termed as a staff-level agreement with Benin Republic on a new 42-month extended credit facility worth $658 million.

In a statement on Friday, the global bank said the extension is intended to help the impoverished West African country address its pressing financing needs related to security, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine, as well as anchor its national development plan.

“IMF staff and the Beninese authorities have reached agreement on an innovative program – first case under the IMF’s High Combined Credit Exposure (HCCE) policy – to support the economy in the near-term while advancing policies and reforms to foster sustained private sector led growth,” the statement said.

The agreement which is subject to approval by IMF Management and the Executive Board around mid-June 2022, will see Benin having access to borrow from the IMF on more liberal terms, according to the statement.

An IMF team led by Constant Lonkeng, held meetings with Beninese representatives in Cotonou during April 4–13 and in Washington D.C. during April 19–22 to negotiate a new program in support of the authorities’ ambitious policy plans and to conduct the 2022 Article IV consultation. The agreement is subject to approval by IMF Management and the Executive Board around mid-June 2022.

At the end of the mission, Mr. Lonkeng issued the following statement:

“I am pleased to announce that the Beninese authorities and the IMF team have reached a staff-level agreement on new 42-month blended Extended Credit Facility (ECF) and Extended Fund Facility (EFF) arrangements to support the authorities’ economic and financial policies.

“The proposed exceptional access under the ECF/EFF of SDR 484.058 million (equivalent to US$ 658.4 million or 391 percent of quota) seeks to help Benin address pressing financing needs, preserve macroeconomic stability, and anchor the country’s National Development Plan centered on achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Tanzanian Central Bank reduces economic liquidity to curb rising inflation

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The Tanzanian Central Bank on Saturday said one of the measures it has taken to slow down rising inflation in September and October is to reduce the liquidity in the economy.

A statement published by the east African country’s apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), said inflation in the country has been on the rise since the beginning of the year, rising from 4.6% on August from a previous 4.5% in July.

MPC said while the country’s economy was facing a range of challenges, including weak global growth, high commodity prices, tight financial conditions and the recurrence of COVID-19 in some countries, it was necessary to reduce the liquidity to stabilise the economy.

“In the context of high inflation and commodity prices, which has contributed to rising inflationary pressures in the country, the MPC approved for the bank to continue with gradual reduction of liquidity in September and October 2022.

“The policy decision aims at reducing inflationary pressures, while safeguarding economic activities,” the statement said.

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Air traffic controllers in West, Central Africa suspend strike for negotiations after 48-hour disruption

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The industrial action by air traffic controllers in West and Central Africa has been suspended.

The unions announced the suspension after a 48-hour strike having disrupted flights across the region and left hundreds of passengers stranded at airports.

According to a statement by the Union of Air Traffic Controllers’ Unions (USYCAA), the decision to suspend its strike notice for 10 days immediately so as to allow for negotiations.

“Air traffic services will be provided in all air spaces and airports managed by ASECNA from today Saturday, September 24, 2022 at 1200 GMT,” the statement said.

One of the stranded passengers, Nsoh Brinston, lamented on how the strike would make him spend more than his budget on his intended travel to Kigali, Rwanda.

“I will have to spend more than I intended due to the cancelled flight. I will have to do another COVID test which costs 30,000 CFA francs ($45),” he said.’

Also, eight flights scheduled to leave the commercial hub of Abidjan on Saturday were cancelled in Ivory Coast.

Industries like aviationtelecom operators have all their operations disrupted across Africa lately largely as part of the fallout of the Russian/Ukraine war which has caused a hike in aviation fuel.

It is yet to be seen if the negotiations between air traffic controllers and government authorities will birth lasting solutions to the challenge which now cuts across the continent.

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