IMF releases $226 million to help Cameroon against virus

The International Monetary Fund on Monday approved a $226 million loan to help Cameroon to combat the coronavirus as it faced plunging oil revenues.

It was the latest disbursement under its Rapid Credit Facility (RCF), which is aimed at the world’s poorest nations and has been doubled in size to quickly dispense aid to those most vulnerable to the economic effects of shutdowns to contain the outbreak.

“The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and the terms of trade shocks from the sharp fall in oil prices are having a significant impact on Cameroon’s economy, leading to a historic fall of real GDP growth,” the IMF said in a statement.

The Cameroonian government has moved to combat the virus, and the IMF said its money would “help to fill immediate external needs and preserve fiscal space for essential COVID-19-related health expenditure,” and also push other donors to act.

Cameroon is facing serious challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic and lost trade which have “given rise to substantial fiscal pressures and an urgent balance of payments need,” IMF deputy managing director Mitsuhiro Furusawa said in a statement.

“IMF emergency financing under the RCF will support the government’s efforts to mitigate the impact of the twin shocks,” he said, while calling for “strict budgetary control and transparency” if the credit line is to be successful. (AFP)