By G9ija

International Monetary Fund executives have approved a $3.5 billion loan agreement for Ivory Coast to help the country tackle financial challenges and assist with its economic transformation, the fund announced Wednesday.

Getting the loan in full will be contingent on the West African nation making structural changes to its economy, which is squeezed by a global downturn and the ripple effects of the war in Ukraine.

The 40-month arrangement will “help support the country’s transformation towards upper-middle income status” over the medium term while preserving macroeconomic stability, the IMF said in a statement.

“Consecutive global shocks have strained Cote d’Ivoire’s public finances as well as regional reserves,” IMF Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura said in a statement, referring to the country by its francophone name.

The program will help the country tackle the “triple shocks” of the Covid-19 pandemic, global monetary tightening, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the statement from the IMF.

The key target of the program’s reform agenda, meanwhile, is domestic revenue mobilization, which the IMF said was central to preserving fiscal and debt sustainability, and would help generate the “fiscal space” needed to allow for deeper economic transformation.

The first tranche of the loan worth close to $500 million will be made immediately available to the Ivorian authorities to support the budget, the IMF said.