The Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) will make about the same number of structural adjustment support loans in 1995 as it did in 1994, despite arrears to the fund that are now worth $500 million, according to director- general Jassim al-Mannai.
‘We have got the money to lend provided the countries fulfil their commitment,’ Al-Mannai told MEED on 8 October. In 1994, four support loans were agreed, for Algeria, Morocco, Yemen and Jordan, together worth $95 million (MEED 15:9:95). Lebanon is among the countries in talks for AMF support, and it is already receiving help from the AMF to develop the local capital market.
Al-Mannai said the arrears are owed by Iraq, Sudan and Somalia, and efforts are being made to arrange a repayment timetable. In the case of Iraq, which owes $150 million, repayment will depend on the lifting of sanctions. ‘In Somalia there is a major problem: there is no government,’ he said.
Constructive talks are being held with Sudan, Al-Mannai said. ‘Every country must pay, and Sudan, to be fair, has shown an interest in doing this,’ he said. ‘We want to see them borrowing again, but rescheduling is not allowed. What we are trying to do is to find formulas in which Sudan can repay over time, but we will not accept that they get priority over others.’ The latest round of talks between the AMF and Khartoum took place in Washington on 10 October.