Abidjan — The International Monetary Fund (IMF) ended a week of talks in Congo Republic on Thursday saying the debt-crippled nation had more work to do if it hoped to gain the lender’s approval for a bail-out package. Like other central African oil producers, Congo has been hit hard by low crude prices. Government revenues have dropped by a third since 2015. The IMF said in its end-of-mission statement that the non-oil economy was in recession, with a contraction of 9.2% expected for 2017. The Fund said it was encouraged by Congo’s draft 2018 budget and added that progress had been made in formulating medium-term macroeconomic and structural policies it could support. However, it said the government needed to do more to restore debt sustainability, urging it to finalise the hiring of legal and financial advisers. More progress towards strengthening governance was also needed.

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