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IMF lauds Angola's economic stabilisation efforts

By AFP

LUANDA (AFP) - The International Monetary Fund on Thursday hailed Angola's actions to stabilise its economy after the 2008 financial crisis caused the price of oil, its main export, to plummet.

"Three years after the abrupt decline in world oil prices that severely affected its economy, Angola has attained an improved fiscal position, a more comfortable level of international reserves, a stable exchange rate and lower inflation," said IMF representative Mauro Mecagni.

"Domestic arrears have been settled. Significant progress has also been made toward improving fiscal transparency and accountability," said Mecagni on the global lender's website after a two-week observation mission.

The IMF forecasts Angola's economic growth will pick up to eight percent in 2012 on the back of reforms and rising oil prices.

The praise follows an IMF report earlier in May that denounced a persistent lack of transparency in the Angolan budget.

IMF economists last December discovered $31.4 billion (24.7 billion euros) in irregular spending between 2007 and 2012 -- a quarter of the country's economy in 2011.

Most of the expenditures were identified after investigations, but $4.2 billion still needs to be accounted for, the IMF said.

"The authorities and staff remain committed to continue the reconciliation of fiscal accounts until a full understanding of the relevant transactions is achieved," the IMF said.

It warned Angola to keep diversifying its economy, ensure its banking sector stays robust and find a balance between public spending and fiscal reserves.

The southwest African country is the continent's second-largest oil producer after Nigeria, and most of its revenues come from oil.

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