The IMF on Monday agreed to provide an emergency $18.4 million loan to Mali to help stabilise its economy over the next 12 months, reported AFP, whilst calling on other international donors to quickly follow suit – in spite of the nation’s current conflict.
“We decided to go ahead with the board meeting (to decide the loan) in spite of the foreign military intervention because we could see that the authorities (in Mali) were still committed and eager to implement their program of fiscal prudence,” told the Fund’s Mali mission chief Christian Josz to reporters; adding that the nation could still see growth of between 4-5 percent this year if conditions, like the weather, stay positive.
In a separate statement to the press, the IMF also highlighted that the loan was approved under its Rapid Credit Facility. The facility is a quick-disbursing fund for poor countries recovering from natural disasters or conflict; and will attempt to help the Malian government bridge a $110 million budget shortfall – including a 37 percent increase in security spending.
"The disbursement ... is designed to help Mali deal with urgent balance of payments need and catalyze financial support from Mali's international partners, which is critical to Mali's economic recovery," the IMF said.
Meanwhile, French troops, who launched a military intervention in Mali last week, re-secured the historic city of Timbuktu on Monday after nearly ten months of occupation by al Qaeda-linked militants.
French president, François Hollande, in televised remarks, suggested that the French may soon pull back from their northward advance, leaving it to a 5,000-member force of African soldiers from across the continent to pursue the militants into the desert north.
“We are winning this battle,” said Hollande, as cited by the New York Times. “When I say, ‘We,’ this is the Malian army, this is the Africans, supported by the French.”
IMF’s Josz also claimed that the French intervention had significantly reduced uncertainty in the capital of Bamako, though the Malian government had still set a “minimalist” budget for 2013, in case foreign aid did not arrive.
Related: Mali Economy