News / Africa

IMF Official Cautions African Countries on Election Costs

Roger Nord, senior adviser in the African Department says such discretion helped many African countries weather the economic downturn of 2008-2009

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan casts his ballot in his home village of Otuoke, Bayelsa state, April 16, 2011
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan casts his ballot in his home village of Otuoke, Bayelsa state, April 16, 2011

Multimedia

Audio
  • IMF senior Africa adviser Roger Nord spoke with Butty

James Butty

With over 30 African countries scheduled to hold parliamentary and presidential elections this year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) warns their leaders to balance their need to spend money for votes with macro-economic prudence.

So far, about 16 African countries have held elections and a few, including Egypt and Sudan, have had referendums.

Roger Nord, senior advisor in the African Department of the IMF, says macro-economic caution helped many countries weather the big economic downturn of 2008 and 2009.

“Let me start by saying that having elections is, of course, a good thing and what we’ve seen over the past 20 years in Africa is a big move toward more representative government. But, at the same time, election years present challenges, particularly in the context where countries are exposed to shocks, from higher fuel prices and higher food prices in global markets, and governments will have to react to that,” he says.

He says one example of election overspending is Ghana in 2009 when the government there reportedly had to turn to the IMF for a $1 billion loan.

IMF Official Cautions African Countries on Election Costs
IMF Official Cautions African Countries on Election Costs

Nord says the IMF is simply offering African countries a forward-looking advice on election-related costs.

“What we are facing in the course of this year and the next is a number of important elections, for example, in Senegal where the government has to face difficult choices. On the one hand, they are facing electricity shortages. Those need to be resolved. On the other hand, like governments everywhere, they face budgetary constraints,” he says.

He says the IMF has been advising African countries in three areas.

“One, of course, is to prioritize, particularly on the spending side and address those parts that are most important. Second, build on your domestic revenue base. And, the third piece of advice is to broaden the financing base and look for financing outside and beyond the traditional donors,” Nord says

Nord says the IMF does not provide special election funding to African countries. But, he says the institution provides help to countries that are facing economic shocks.

“We did so in 2008 and 2009, and we are doing so again now as countries are facing pressures for rising international prices and the impact that has on their balance payments,” Nord said.

He says the IMF is confident African countries will continue to put in place those economic protections like low debt and high reserves that helped them weather the shocks of the 2008-2009 economic downturn.

‘And, I think going forward, it’s important that countries rebuild those margins, some of which have been eroded by the past crisis because if not, the next crisis will be that much more difficult to deal with. So, our advice is that macro-economic prudence is good for countries in the long run, and we’re confident that, with strong economic management, Africa will be among the fastest-growing regions in the world over the next decade,” Nord says.

You May Like

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid