Min Zhu, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today in Dakar at the conclusion of his two-day visit to Senegal where he also participated in a symposium organized by the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) on the occasion of its 50thAnniversary.
My visit has been very productive, and I wish to thank President Sall, Prime Minister Mbaye and Finance Minister Kane for the warmth of their hospitality and for our fruitful discussions. I also thank Governor Kon and the BCEAO for the excellent discussions we had in the context of the Symposium on the occasion of the 50thAnniversary of the regional central bank.
Our discussions during the Symposium were very rich and covered topical issues for the region, such as the conduct of monetary policy in the WAEMU, the role of central banks in financing the economy, and the nexus between financial development, financial stability, and growth. Im sure the fruits of these discussions will be most helpful to policymakers in the future.
In my discussions with the Senegalese authorities, President Sall, Prime Minister Mbaye and Minister Kane all reiterated the governments commitment to preserve macroeconomic stability; restore fiscal space through lower deficits; further improve public financial management and governance; and promote the private sector, which has a critical role to play in economic growth. I assured them that we at the IMF will do all we can to assist the government in the implementation of its economic program.
Growth is expected to increase to 4.3% in 2013 thanks to the completion or the accelerated execution of large infrastructure and mining projects. We agreed that the main medium-term challenge for Senegal is to move back to higher, sustainable, and inclusive growth, which will raise living standards, create more jobs, and accelerate poverty reduction. This will be challenging, because the international environment is likely to be less supportive than before the global financial crisis.
However, I am convinced this goal can be reached if reforms are sustained. The government has an important role to play in this regard, for instance through the further provision of critical infrastructure, reforms to improve the business environment and make the state more efficient, and more effective and inclusive social policies. Improving education and agriculture productivity is also critical to medium-term growth.