IMF grants Mali $18 mn emergency loan

The International Monetary Fund agreed Monday to provide a $18.4 million emergency loan to Mali, a move likely to lead to other donors releasing more funds after having cut off aid following the March 2012 coup.

The IMF executive board approved the loan under the Rapid Credit Facility aiming to help the government bridge a huge budget hole as its fights off an Islamist insurgency with French help.

Mali mission chief Christian Josz said the fund was confident that the country, battered by drought, the March coup and now a rebellion by Islamist militants in the north, would stick to efforts at reducing its fiscal deficit and implementing economic reforms.

"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 were still committed and eager to implement their program of fiscal prudence."

"At the same time we could also see that donors were prepared to re-engage in Mali and considered this operation of the IMF with Mali a precondition to re-engage."