IMF Says It Is Engaging with Ethiopia But Not Holding Talks on Loan Program

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The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday it was continuing to engage on a technical basis with Ethiopia despite a worsening conflict in the country, but given uncertainty, it has not begun discussions on a potential IMF financing program, Reuters reported. IMF spokesman Gerry Rice told a news briefing that the Fund is watching developments closely in Ethiopia, as well as in Sudan. It is too soon to tell how political developments related to a late October coup will affect Sudan’s request for debt relief and potential IMF disbursements in 2022, Rice said. African and Western nations called on Thursday for an immediate ceasefire in Ethiopia after Tigrayan forces from the country’s north made advances towards the capital, Addis Ababa, as a U.S. special envoy arrived to press for a halt to military operations. Ethiopia has asked the IMF for a new loan program as France and China have convened a creditor committee to try to rework Ethiopia’s nearly $30 billion in external debt. The IMF in December 2019 had approved credit facilities for $2.9 billion but has yet to make any disbursements. Rice said the IMF welcomed the formation of the creditor committee and was providing technical support. Read more.