Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), will meet President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja on Monday to discuss Nigeria’s economic challenges.
Largarde would be visiting Nigeria and Cameroon during January 4–9, 2016, to engage with policy makers and other stakeholders in both countries and from the region and to underline the IMF’s strong relationship with its African member countries.
According to a statement by the IMF on Monday, the visit to Nigeria will provide an opportunity to strengthen the Fund’s partnership with the largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa.
“In Abuja, Ms. Lagarde will meet with President Muhammadu Buhari and other senior leaders, along with business leaders, prominent women, and representatives of civil society. She will also meet with legislators,” IMF said.
“I look forward to productive meetings with President Buhari and his colleagues as they address important economic challenges, most importantly the impact of low oil prices,”
According to Lagarde, “Nigeria is working hard to improve its business environment, promote opportunities for growth in the private sector, and strengthen social cohesion, all areas where the government has an important role to play.”
In Cameroon, Lagarde will meet President Paul Biya and his economic team, as well as private sector executives, women leaders, and other members of Cameroonian society.
She will also meet with Finance Ministers from the six member countries of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC), delivering a speech to the group on January 8.
“As the largest and most diversified economy in CEMAC, Cameroon is well placed to sustain, and reinforce, the momentum of integration,” Lagarde said.
“The country and the entire CEMAC region are confronted with the twin shocks of the oil-price slump and a surge in disruptions related to security.
“Reinforcing regional integration and implementing ambitious reform agendas in CEMAC countries will be key to secure macroeconomic stability and restore strong and inclusive growth in the region.”
IMF and the World Bank have initially recommended that Buhari remove subsidy of petroleum products and devalue the naira.
This is expected to take the front burner in Lagarde’s discussion with Buhari, Saraki and other Nigerian policy makers.