WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) executive board has approved a $7.5 billion disbursement for Argentina despite Buenos Aires missing key financial targets as it grapples with a prolonged economic crisis, the IMF said Wednesday.
The agreement combines the fifth and sixth reviews of an existing 30-month, $44 billion IMF program, in a move aimed at improving the South American country’s dire economic situation.
“Since completion of the fourth review, key program targets were missed reflecting the historic drought along with policy slippages,” the IMF announced in a statement.
“Against the backdrop of high inflation and rising balance of payments pressures, agreement was reached on a new policy package centered on rebuilding reserves and enhancing fiscal order,” the IMF continued.
Argentina is dealing with a severe economic crisis that has seen the inflation rate soar above 100 percent, and poverty levels climb up to 40 percent.
Wednesday’s announcement brings the total disbursements by the IMF to Argentina under the arrangement to around $36 billion, with the next review scheduled for November, the IMF said.
News of the agreement was first announced by a spokesperson for Argentina’s economy minister, Sergio Massa, who is also running for president in elections scheduled for later this year.
Massa traveled to Washington this week to meet with senior IMF and World Bank officials, as the two international financial institutions considered separate decisions relating to the country.
On Tuesday, the World Bank approved two new projects for Argentina worth around $650 million which are targeted at increasing access to financing for climate change mitigation and adaptation, and strengthening existing food programs.
The projects are aimed at helping Argentina “lay the foundations for more sustainable and resilient growth and improve the efficiency of public services and social protection,” Marianne Fay, the World Bank’s country director for Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, said in a statement announcing the decision. – AFP