IMF completes review of Benin loan program, disburses $144 mln

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WASHINGTON, Dec 14 (Reuters) – The executive board of the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday said it had completed the first review under a 42-month financing program for Benin, giving the country immediate access to about $144 million.

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“The program is off to a strong start, with all end-June 2022 performance criteria and indicative targets met and all structural benchmarks implemented,” the global lender said in a statement.

The board’s move brings total disbursements under the blended Extended Fund Facility and Extended Credit Facility arrangements approved in July to about $287 million.

The IMF said Benin’s economy was gaining strength despite heightened global uncertainty and increasing regional security risks, with economic output to grow by 6% this year.

High fuel and food prices, and the strong U.S. dollar, are expected to widen the country’s current account deficit to 6.1% of gross domestic product, the IMF said. It noted that inflation had remained subdued given a strong harvest season and subsidy measures adopted after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

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