IMF chief Georgieva to visit DR Congo, Senegal this week

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International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva attends the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, Britain, November 3, 2021. REUTERS/Yves Herman/File Photo

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WASHINGTON, Dec 6 (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva will visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and Senegal this week, with a focus on how the global lender can best support Africa as it deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the IMF said.

Georgieva will travel on to Africa from Brussels, where she addressed a meeting of the Eurogroup on Monday.

The IMF's managing director will meet with Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi, who is completing his tenure as chair of the African Union, and incoming AU chair, the Senegalese President Macky Sall, as well as civil society groups and business leaders, an IMF official said.

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While in Dakar, Senegal's capital, Georgieva will also visit the Institut Pasteur bio-medical research center, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said on Twitter. The center is working with U.S. and Belgian companies to become a fully-fledged maker of coronavirus vaccines for Africa.

The IMF in October forecast that sub-Saharan Africa’s economy would expand by 3.7% in 2021 and 3.8% in 2022, a welcome reversal after a sharp contraction in 2020, but still the slowest recovery relative to other regions.

One huge ongoing source of concern is the lag in vaccination rates between advanced economies and developing countries. Only 102 million people, or 7.5% of the African continent's population, are fully vaccinated, according to the World Health Organization, which has warned that vaccine inequity will prolong the pandemic.

Climate change and using carbon credits to keep forests standing will be a big focus during Georgieva's talks with Tshisekedi, the official said.

"If we put a good surveillance system in place, the revenues from carbon can be higher than the revenues from logging," the official noted.

In Senegal, Georgieva will meet with the incoming AU chair about the continent's recovery and vulnerabilities, including high levels of sovereign debt.

She is also due to meet virtually with African finance ministers while in the region.

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Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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