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Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued a statement on Saturday (28 January) as she concluded her visit to Uganda
“I wish to thank President Museveni, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development Matia Kasaija and Governor Emmanuel Tumusiime-Mutebile and other senior officials for our productive exchange of views and their warm hospitality during my visit to Kampala. I would also like to express my gratitude to all stakeholders with whom I met, including industry leaders, women leaders, financial sector representatives, civil society and think tanks.
“I commend Uganda for its growth and poverty reduction achievements over the past three decades. These achievements have been underwritten by strong macroeconomic policies, and a reliance on the private sector as the engine of growth. Looking ahead, I welcome the government’s sense of urgency and emphasis on promoting inclusive growth which is needed to make further progress on poverty reduction and create jobs for the fast-growing population.
“Uganda has appropriately embarked on a strategy of scaled-up infrastructure investment in the energy and transport sectors to relieve key growth bottlenecks and enhance regional linkages. The government’s focus on overcoming implementation challenges, including through strengthening public investment management, should help ensure that these investments yield the desired outcomes in terms of higher growth and job creation.
“In my discussions, I emphasized that lifting growth will also require complementary reforms that reduce income inequality and support gender equality. I commend the government’s achievements in financial inclusion, including the rapid growth of mobile banking. Under the Policy Support Instrument which Uganda has agreed with the IMF, the government monitors the level of social spending to ensure that sufficient resources are available.
“Uganda is set to benefit from deeper economic integration within the East African Community and the advent of oil production in a few years. We agreed that strong institutions and a favorable business environment are essential for seizing these opportunities. With regards to managing future oil revenue in particular, I was encouraged by the government’s commitment to transparency and developing a fiscal framework that allows for a sustainable use of the resource.
“More generally, I commended the government and the Bank of Uganda for their prudent approach to fiscal and monetary policy. Continued progress on domestic revenue mobilization will help keep government debt on a sustainable path. Uganda’s inflation targeting framework is serving the country well.
“Lastly, I was impressed by Uganda’s integrative approach to refugees by giving them access to public services and providing them with the means for being economically active. I call on the international community to continue supporting Uganda in this area.
“Finally, I would like to reiterate the IMF’s strong support for Uganda, and look forward to our continued partnership.”
This comes a month after the IMF's meeting with Central African contries which was featured in the digital copy of African Review last month.