IMF sees Burundi's 2013 GDP up 4.5 pct, below government forecast


BUJUMBURA (Reuters) - Burundi's economy could grow 4.5 percent in 2013 thanks to good harvests and infrastructure projects, the International Monetary Fund said, giving an estimate below the government's own.

Burundi's latest forecast in December projects growth will accelerate to 6.6 percent from an estimated 4.7 percent in 2012, though economists have said the landlocked economy can only grow if inflation is kept under control and the currency stabilised.

The IMF gave no new figure of its own for 2012 GDP growth, which in February it estimated at 4 pct.

The IMF said lower food and oil prices should improve the inflationary outlook. However, year-on-year inflation in the coffee-producing country jumped to 8.2 percent in the year to May from 3.0 percent in April as local food prices rose sharply.

"A declining budget support and revenue shortfalls limited the government's ability to maintain public spending levels. Still, economic growth could reach 4.5 percent," the Fund said.

In a statement published on Monday, the Washington-based body said it had encouraged the government to speed up plans to collect more revenue and adjust its spending priorities.

The Burundian franc fell 14 percent against the dollar in the first quarter of 2013, almost what it lost during the whole of 2012.