IMF reaches agreement with Togo on $83 million loan

Reuters
A photographer takes pictures through a glass carrying the International Monetary Fund logo during a news conference in Bucharest
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A photographer takes pictures through a glass carrying the International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo during …

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund staff agreed to provide Togo a loan of about $83 million as part of a three-year economic program to help the tiny West African country improve its finances.

Togo exports cotton and phosphates and its economy grew 5.9 percent last year, but that is set to slow to about 5.5 percent in 2013 due to bad weather and weaker mining, the IMF said in a statement on Monday.

Togo has made progress in collecting taxes, but the government also boosted spending ahead of the July elections, which along with fuel subsidies has strained the budget, the IMF said.

"Policy discussions focused on resetting fiscal policy on a more solid footing," Montfort Mlachila, IMF mission chief for Togo, said after a visit to the country.

He added that economic conditions in the country were still positive, and the economy should expand at an average of 6 percent over the next three years.

The loan program is subject to approval by the IMF's executive board, and follows a $108 million IMF loan program that ended in 2011.

Togo, a former French colony, is still ruled by one of Africa's oldest political dynasties. But it started to re-engage with international lenders several years ago after the 2005 death of Gnassingbe Eyadema, who had ruled the country with an iron fist for nearly four decades.

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