Central African Republic achieves major debt relief

20 Jul 2009

Central African Republic has successfully implemented a reform strategy qualifying it for more than $500 million of debt relief from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

As a reward for its achievement, the country will soon be granted an additional $US185 million worth of debt relief from the IMF, the International Development Association and the African Development Fund. This will make it easier for the government to renegotiate fresh agreements with donors and lenders, and to attract new investors.

The reform strategy falls under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, a joint IMF and World Bank approach to debt reduction among poor countries that also aims to reduce poverty and maintain economic stability.

For the Central African Republic, this focused on improving transparency; carrying out structural reforms in forestry and mining, in civil service and in public debt management; and in stepping up efforts to combat HIV and AIDS.

UNDP has been helping the government execute its accountability initiatives through providing both technical and financial assistance.

It now takes just seven days to process the paperwork needed to set up or modify a business, down from six to nine months before. The country is also well on its way to implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, a programme that improves accountability and economic governance in the mining, forestry and oil industries.

To increase transparency, the reform programme also guides top government officials toward creating asset disclosure forms. As a result, nearly all senior officials and managers of public enterprises have disclosed their assets.

UNDP has also worked with the government to put four key ministerial departments – Civil Service, Foreign Affairs, Regional Administration and the General Secretariat of the Government – through an exhaustive audit. As a result of the audit, the government is setting up a national classification of government jobs, and is establishing a framework to apportion positions within each government agency, an approach that supports a system of civil service.

For more on the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative, see http://www.imf.org/external/np/exr/facts/hipc.htm