Bloomberg-IMF volte-face on alleged advice given to Ethiopia

22 Sep

By the Reporter

Bloomberg stands by its story

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has denied a Bloomberg news report that it had urged the Ethiopian government to slow the Grand Renaissance Dam project to protect its economy.

In a letter sent by the IMF to the National Bank of Ethiopia and which was referred to The Reporter, the IMF’s country director, Jan Mikkelsen, said, “I did not urge the Ethiopian government to slow down implementation of any particular project-this is entirely a decision to be made by Ethiopian authorities.”

Mikkelsen said that the comments he gave at a press briefing [on September 13] were misrepresented by the author of the report.

“The IMF has no expertise in judging particular projects, including the Renaissance Dam, and has therefore not provided advice to the government on the phasing of specific projects,” the letter read.

He said that the IMF had stressed the importance of macroeconomic stability for economic growth and the need to ensure that the pace of overall infrastructure investment is consistent with that.

“In this context, we have raised the concerns about the planned rapid expansion of public investments which translate into a large financing need in the coming years. With several projects expected to be financed either fully or partially from domestic sources, we have cautioned against crowding out of the private sector, which will slow down growth,” Mikkelsen noted.

Finally, Mikkelsen requested William Davison, Bloomberg’s correspondent Addis Ababa , to correct the headline and reflect this in his future reporting.

However, after consultation with his editors, Davison told The Reporter, “I was not asked to issue a correction for the story, so there was no question of doing so.

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