KINSHASA – The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it expects Central African Republic’s economy to grow 4.7 percent in 2017, up from 4.5 percent last year, assuming an ongoing government dialogue with armed groups helps to reduce violence.
Central African Republic is receiving financing under a $116 million extended credit facility first approved by the IMF executive board last July to help the war-torn country’s economy recover from years of conflict.
The country has been plagued by inter-religious and inter-communal conflict since 2013, when the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels seized power, prompting reprisals from the anti-Balaka militia, many of whose fighters are nominally Christian.
In a statement at the end of a week-long staff visit, the IMF said economic progress under the credit facility was “broadly on track” and that the government was committed to increasing social spending and public investment.
Violence, however, is once again on the rise. Over a two-week span last month, fighting between militia groups killed about 300 people and displaced nearly 100,000, the worst bout of displacements since 2013.
Average inflation is expected to drop to 3.8 percent this year from 4.6 percent last year due to increased food supply, the IMF said.
(Reporting By Aaron Ross, editing by Larry King)