IMF gives Mauritania $100 mln in aid


The International Monetary Fund said it would give Mauritania at least $100 million in financial aid over the next three years, adding to signs of support from donors who froze aid after a 2008 coup.

Widely criticised for leading the August 2008 coup in the West African Islamic state, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz has won back some international legitimacy by winning a July election that paves the way for international re-engagement with Mauritania.

The money, which could be increased when put before the IMF board, has been ear-marked for improving the management of public sector spending, supporting the financial sector and boosting the country’s energy sector, Ousmane Kane, Mauritania’s finance minister, told reporters.

The new funding follows a decision by the IMF in September to renew ties with the desert nation by unblocking $80 million in budgetary support that was frozen after the coup.

Boileau Loko, deputy head of the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia department, said the macro-economic situation in Mauritania was under control despite a higher-than-targeted budget deficit and the impact of the global crisis on the nation.

Loko said the IMF’s decision demonstrated to the international community that the IMF was re-engaging and was ready to help the Mauritanian government.

Aziz was sworn in as president in August after a poll that opponents said was a fraud, but which France and others have said paved the way for re-engaging with a nation that straddles Black and Arab Africa.