France Links Aid to Congo Republic With IMF Bailout

(Bloomberg) -- France will disburse 130 million euros in assistance to cash-strapped Republic of Congo if the government signs an agreement with the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

The oil-producing central African nation began talks with the IMF last year as it owes creditors more than $9 billion, but the Washington-based lender has asked the government to outline exactly what it owes to bilateral and commercial lenders. It’s important that Congo clarifies its debts, Le Maire told reporters in the capital, Brazzaville after meeting with finance ministers of nations that use the CFA franc.

Among reforms the IMF has called for are fighting corruption, the creation of oversight bodies to monitor state-owned companies, and a declaration of assets by high-level officials, according to a Dec. 20 statement. Congo’s debt has more than tripled since 2010 to about 110 percent of gross domestic product because of a series of pre-financing deals by the state oil company.

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