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IMF approves release of $1 bn for Angola amid COVID-19 downturn

Angola has been hard hit by slumping oil prices since the coronavirus pandemic hit, caused by a global slowdown in demand and a price war between major crude producers.

Picture: Pixabay.com

WASHINGTON – The IMF on Wednesday approved release of another $1 billion in lending for Angola as its economy struggles with the Covid-19 downturn and global drop in crude prices.

The Washington-based crisis lender also increased by $765 million the size of the three-year aid program for the southern African nation to help it deal with the pandemic's impact on the economy, the IMF said in a statement.

Facing high debt levels and inflation, Angola, one of the largest producers of crude in Africa, reached an agreement with the IMF in December 2018 on a $3.7 billion Extended Fund Facility. The latest disbursement brings to $2.5 billion the total released.

Angola has been hard hit by slumping oil prices since the coronavirus pandemic hit, caused by a global slowdown in demand and a price war between major crude producers.

The IMF in July projected Angola would see GDP shrink by 4.0% this year, its fifth straight year of economic contraction.

"The Angolan authorities remain committed to sound policies under the IMF-supported program despite a deteriorated external environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including negative impacts on public health, social protection, the budget and public debt," IMF Deputy Managing Director Antoinette Sayeh said in a statement.

"The authorities adopted a conservative supplementary budget for 2020, taking measures to increase non-oil revenue, and reining in non-essential expenditure," she said. "Despite the crisis, fiscal consolidation will continue, while creating space for adequate spending on health and social safety nets."