August 30, 2017 / 4:06 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Cameroon GDP growth to slow to around 4 percent this year -IMF

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ABIDJAN, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Cameroon’s economic growth rate will slip to around 4 percent this year, down from a revised 2016 rate of 4.5 percent because of a slowdown in its oil and gas sector, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday.

The IMF, which completed a review mission to the country on Tuesday, said growth was mainly held back by the continued decline in oil production and delays in the launch of a new natural gas field.

“The economic outlook for 2018 is positive, albeit subject to downside risks. Growth should improve to about 4.2 percent, due to the entry into production of the new offshore natural gas platform,” said Corinne Delechat, the head of the mission.

The IMF approved a $666 million, three-year extended credit facility in June for Cameroon, which has been hit hard by the global decline in crude prices.

The government has also been forced to concentrate resources on combating the threat of Islamist Boko Haram militants along its northwestern border with Nigeria.

“In the medium term, growth should gradually increase further to 5 to 5.5 percent as key infrastructure projects are completed, including hydroelectrical power plants, the deep-sea port and roads,” Delechat said.

Cameroon, meanwhile, recorded year-on-year inflation of 0.6 percent at the end of June. (Reporting by Joe Bavier, editing by Jeremy Gaunt)

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