South Sudan to become IMF member in early 2012: Lagarde

Reuters , Saturday 17 Dec 2011

South Sudan is expected to soon become a member of the International Monetary Fund, says IMF head Christine Lagarde

South Sudan
Oil revenues could make it one of the wealthiest countries in the region at least on paper. (Photo:Reuters)

Newly independent South Sudan is expected to become a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in early 2012, the head of the IMF said Friday after talks with President Salva Kiir.

"South Sudan has applied for membership earlier this year and I look forward to South Sudan becoming the Fund's 188th member in early 2012," Christine Lagarde said in a statement, saying the country's membership application was in an "advanced stage".

Lagarde said South Sudan faced "formidable challenges," including ensuring economic stability, building institutions to support its economy and managing oil revenues wisely.

Lagarde said the IMF had been providing technical support and training to the new government in public finance management, oil revenue and foreign reserves management, banking and financial supervision, as well as economic statistics gathering.

"We are working on a three-year programme of dedicated technical assistance," she added.

Kiir told a conference in Washington this week that South Sudan was determined to become an "island of stability" in Africa after emerging to claim independence in July, culminating a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with Sudan.

South Sudan accounts for around 75 per cent of the formerly united country's 500,000 barrels per day of oil output. Oil revenues could make it one of the wealthiest countries in the region, at least on paper.

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