IMF board approves $300 mn loan for Burkina Faso

22.09.2023 LISTEN

The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) executive board approved a $300 million loan agreement for the West African nation of Burkina Faso to help bolster its economy and reduce poverty.

The landlocked country has had two military coups since January last year, while contending with a deteriorating security situation and multiple economic shocks, including the war in Ukraine and the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

The four-year loan agreement worth around $302 million, should "create fiscal space for priority spending, strengthen resilience to shocks while reducing poverty, and bolster fiscal discipline, transparency and governance," the IMF announced in a statement.

Burkina Faso saw its fiscal buffers eroded "substantially" last year, along with a sharp decline in economic growth, according to the IMF.

"Burkina Faso faces a challenging macroeconomic outlook amid large development and security needs, compounded by acute food insecurity and long-standing fragility," IMF Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura said.

"For the country's long-term development process, it remains essential to sustain structural reforms to foster economic growth and diversification as well as to reduce poverty," he added.

Burkina Faso has been battling a deadly jihadist insurgency since 2015, a spillover from the conflict in neighboring Mali which has also affected its eastern neighbor Niger.

All three countries have had military coups since 2020.

More than 40 percent of Burkina Faso's population live in poverty, according to the IMF, while the UN refugee agency estimates that more than two million people are internally displaced as a result of "persistent insecurity."