Christine Lagarde, IMF Boss
Christine Lagarde, IMF Boss

?Lagarde will arrive in the country on the evening of January 25 and leave on Thursday, January 29, Mitra Farabaksh, the IMF resident representative, told The New Times yesterday.

Christine Lagarde Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund
Christine Lagarde Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund

Rwanda is a member of the IMF, an organisation of 188 countries working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world.

During her five-day visit, Lagarde is expected to have a busy schedule at the end of which she will head to Senegal, West Africa.

Officials at the IMF Rwanda office said Lagarde will visit the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre, tour an export-oriented project, tour the ICT hub in Kigali, address Parliament.

Farabaksh said Lagarde will also meet the government?s economic team to discuss the country?s current and future state of the economy and brainstorm on policy-related issues.

Lagarde?s visit is expected to be mainly focused on Rwanda?s economy and very little outside that, according to John Kayemba, an economist at the IMF Rwanda office.

Discussing economic performance

During her meeting with the government?s economic team, Lagarde is expected to discuss at length Rwanda?s performance under the Policy Support Instrument (PSI), an IMF tool approved in 2013 to help guide Rwanda?s economic policies.

In December, last year, Naoyuki Shinohara, the IMF deputy managing director, praised Rwanda?s economic performance after concluding the second review of the PSI programme in Rwanda, since its approval in December 2013.

Shinohara, in his report to IMF, said Rwandan authorities should be commended for what he called strong implementation of the economic programme against a challenging economic environment.

?Poverty has declined over time, economic growth has recovered since 2013, inflation remains contained and fiscal policies remain prudent and the objectives of the 2014/15 Budget are within reach,? Shinohara said in December.

While the IMF expects Rwanda?s fiscal deficits to decline in the medium term, the country is encouraged to focus on strengthening the domestic revenue base as an important objective that would help reduce on aid dependency.

?Authorities should vigorously pursue improvements in revenue administration and tax policy improvements in agriculture, mining, and property,? added Shinohara.

Lagarde will use her visit to see for herself and interact with top government officials in order to validate the reports by her officials.

She also comes at a time when her counterparts at the World Bank have cut global growth forecast, warning the US alone, whose economy is expected to be faster this year, cannot drive an economic recovery.

In its bi-annual report, the World Bank predicted global growth of 3 per cent this year and 3.3 per cent next year, both below its June forecast of 3.4 per cent and 3.5 per cent, respectively.

In October, last year, IMF also cut its forecast for 2015, saying it expects the global economy to grow by 3.8 per cent this year, down from its July forecast of 4 per cent.

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Who is Lagarde?

? French Lawyer born January 1, 1956
? IMF Managing Director since July 2011
? First woman to head the IMF
? Was French Finance Minister for six years, becoming the first woman to do so in a G8 economy
? Named 2009?s Financial Times best Minister of Finance
? Named 2014 Forbes Magazine most powerful woman in world

The New Times, Kenneth Agutamba

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