IMF approves $34.4 mln disbursement for Central African Republic

JOHANNESBURG: The International Monetary Fund's (IMF) executive board approved a disbursement to Central African Republic of about $34.4 million after completing the first and second reviews of its $115 million loan program, the Fund said on Wednesday.

The country is facing the duel challenges of the coronavirus pandemic as well as a resurgent rebel offensive launched in opposition to elections held last month.

IMF Deputy Managing Director Mitsuhiro Furusawa said in a statement that the fallout from the virus appeared to have receded, but the economy remained fragile.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has had a substantial impact on C.A.R's economy but appears to be somewhat contained," he said. "Given its high risk of debt distress and limited revenue base, C.A.R. will have to continue to rely heavily on grant financing for its most pressing spending needs."

The gold- and diamond-rich nation of 4.7 million has been hit by successive waves of violence since former president Francois Bozize was ousted by a rebellion in 2013. Thousands have been killed and more than a million forced from their homes.

Incumbent President Faustin-Archange Touadera was declared the winner of December's presidential vote with more than 50% of votes cast, but the result was hotly disputed by the defeated candidates.