After conviction, Lagarde visits Cameroon to encourage six African leaders

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary fund (IMF), just concluded her visit to Cameroon, recording her first visit to Africa after her conviction in France on Monday.

According to IMF, Lagarde’s visit to Cameroon was at the invitation of Paul Biya, the long-serving Cameroonian president, who asked that she participate at a heads of states of central summit in Yaoundé.

The summit, which held on Friday had the presidents of Gabon, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of Congo and Equitorial Guinea in attendance.

“Discussions during today’s summit in Yaoundé today have been very fruitful. We discussed the economic impact on the six Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) economies of the severe shocks that have hit the region in recent years,” Lagarde said at the end of the summit.

“A sharp decline in commodity prices, in particular of oil, as well as security threats and civil unrest in the Central African Republic have profoundly impacted the region’s external and fiscal balances.

“Addressing the current regional imbalances requires a strong and coordinated policy response. I encouraged CCEMAC leaders to intensify their collaboration to design and implement the economic reforms needed to reestablish macroeconomic stability in each country and the region as a whole.”

Lagarde, who got the backing of the IMF executive board, after being convicted by a French court for negligence in the misuse of public funds as the country’s finance minister in 2008, called for reforms in Africa.

“This, together with reforms to foster diversification, will lay the foundation for a sustained rebound in growth. I also welcomed the authorities’ intentions to consider measures to mitigate adverse impacts on the most vulnerable segments of the population.

“The IMF stands ready to work closely with all governments in the region to help them during this challenging period. We will continue to support CEMAC countries as well as the regional institutions, including through capacity development to the CEMAC Commission, the BEAC, and the COBAC in the areas of public finance management and monetary policy.

“I would like to sincerely thank President Paul Biya, President Obiang in his capacity of CEMAC President, and all CEMAC Heads of State for their warm welcome and wonderful hospitality. The IMF remains CEMAC’s partner in meeting its economic challenges.”