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

    Native Americans Ask: What About Our Water Supply?

    They say they have been facing a dangerous water contaminant for decades - uranium – but the problem has received far less attention than water contamination by lead in Flint, Michigan

    Pakistan's President Urges Nation Not to Celebrate Valentine's Day

    Mamnoon Hussain criticizes Valentine's Day, which falls on Sunday this year, as a Western import that threatens to undermine the Islamic values of Pakistan

    Mother of IS Supporter: Son Was Peaceful, 'Role Model'

    Somali-American Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of conspiring to provide material support to Islamic State militants

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortagei
    X
    February 12, 2016 7:31 PM
    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Two-thirds of World Faces Water Shortage

    Four billion people — or two out of every three on the planet — do not have enough water to meet their basic needs. That is far greater than previously thought, according to a new study that presents a more accurate picture of the problem. As VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports, the findings will help policymakers and the public craft solutions to address the threat.
    Video

    Video Gateway to Mecca: Historical Old Jeddah

    Local leader Sami Nawar's family has been in the Old City of Jeddah for hundreds of years and takes us on a tour of this ancient route to Mecca, also believed to be the final resting place of Adam's wife, Eve.
    Video

    Video New Technology Aims to Bring Election Transparency to Uganda

    A team of recent graduates from Uganda’s Makerere University has created a mobile application designed to help monitor elections and expose possible rigging. The developers say the app, called E-Poll, will make Uganda's democratic process fairer. From Kampala, VOA's Serginho Roosblad reports.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video Russia Bristles at NATO Expansion in E. Europe

    Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is meeting Friday with the head of NATO after the Western military alliance and the United States announced plans for the biggest military build-up in Europe since the Cold War. Russia has called NATO's moves a threat to stability in Europe. But NATO says the troop rotations and equipment are aimed at reassuring allies concerned about Russia as VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.