Washington (AFP) - The International Monetary Fund on Monday announced it had approved a deal to give North Macedonia access to 530 million euros to help the country recover from the coronavirus pandemic and knock-on effects from the war in Ukraine.
Under the two-year arrangement, the Washington-based global lender will immediately disburse 110 million euros, to be followed by multiple follow-up disbursements provided Skopje adheres to the terms of the accord, the IMF said.
“North Macedonia has been hit by two consecutive global shocks. While recovering from the pandemic, the outlook deteriorated again following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and sharply rising global commodity prices,” it said in a statement.
The IMF’s acting chair Bo Li hailed the country’s “sound policy framework” ahead of the pandemic, saying it had “fostered solid and broad-based growth, with moderate public debt and external current account deficits.”
“However, the macroeconomic situation deteriorated substantially due to the pandemic and the commodity price shock,” he added.
The IMF voiced confidence that North Macedonia would emerge from its so-called Precautionary Liquidity Line (PLL) program when the deal expires in 2024.
North Macedonia officially launched its membership negotiations with the European Union in July, 17 years after being named a candidate.
Macedonia declared independence from Yugoslavia in 1991 and changed its name to North Macedonia in 2018 to overcome a bitter dispute with EU member state Greece.
Both that spat and a raft of complaints from Bulgaria about recognition of North Macedonia’s history, culture and language had blocked Skopje’s EU path.