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WASHINGTON: The International Monetary Fund said Saturday it had reached a preliminary agreement with Niger on periodic reviews of several aid programs underway in the Sahel country, opening the door to more than $70 million in funding.

The agreement will require approval by the Fund’s board of directors, which is set to meet in July, the IMF said in a statement.

This was the fourth and fifth review of the aid program to Niger, allowing for the disbursement of $26.1 million “to cover external financing needs.”

Currency values in terms of Special Drawing Rights

The agreement also covers the first review of the Resilience and Sustainability Facility, the IMF’s long-term financing tool to address risks and challenges linked to climate change, allowing the disbursement of another $45.3 million.

The IMF noted Niger’s “ongoing efforts to simplify the tax system, promote the digitalization of revenue administration, and adopt an oil revenue management strategy aiming at insulating the budget from fluctuations in international oil prices.”

The Fund is one of the few institutions continuing to provide aid to Niger, whose elected president Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown in 2023 in a military coup.

The United States, EU, France and Germany have suspended a number of aid programs to Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries. The World Bank announced in mid-May the resumption of several projects in the country.

Sanctions and difficulties in the agricultural sector led to a slowdown in growth in 2023, to 2.4 percent, a particularly low level for a country with an average annual population growth of 3.7 percent.

But the Nigerien economy was expected to grow 10.6 percent this year, thanks to the lifting of sanctions and strength in the oil sector.

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