According to Marcos Souto, although Angola, at the moment, does not have problems with budget limits due to global conditions, due to the fact that the price of oil brings extra revenue to the country, food insecurity in the country "is still significant".
"In any case, the problem of food insecurity in Angola is still unfortunately relevant, I was surprised when I started working with Angola for a series of reasons, but one of the reasons was the social indicators", stated the IMF representative.
For a country "with the greatness of Angola, with the riches of Angola, with the potential of Angola, we saw a large number of the population, a large portion of the population suffering in an unmeasured way, numbers that I heard 50 percent of the children suffer from starvation", he pointed out.
These children, he stressed, "will have permanent limitations of a cognitive nature, because once this process takes place, at a certain age, it has an impact on brain development and cognitive functions no longer recover".
"We have to remember this, because what is the future we want for Angola? It is a future where there are more opportunities for everyone, it is a future where this type of number is no longer a reality, we still have very big challenges here", he noted .
The IMF representative in Angola, who was speaking in Luanda, at the presentation of the Report on the IMF's Regional Economic Perspectives for Sub-Saharan Africa, defended a "more virtuous and more inclusive" development for Angolans.
Marcos Souto recalled the "success story" faced by Angola in the last "three difficult years", due to the pandemic, with the country emerging with courage to continue with the reforms and challenging changes, insisting that "its greatness must be reflected in the citizens".
But Angola "demonstrated that it is a country with a greatness that does not fit within its geography and that greatness, now, also needs to be translated into changes that improve the life of its citizen", he stressed.
"People who do not have access to education, without access to basic structural issues, but I am absolutely sure that in the same way that Angola had the strength, the courage to emerge from the situation it was in, it will also do so in this process now of economic diversification", he maintained.
He also defended the creation of opportunities for Angolan citizens, in a more virtuous circle. "Because, as these people gradually begin to migrate to the formal economy, where there is less hunger, this creates the conditions for a more virtuous and, above all, more inclusive development cycle," he insisted.
At least 123 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are in a situation of food insecurity, recalled Marcos Souto, referring to the report's data, noting that the "increase in the prices of food and energy puts many lives at risk".
Solving this problem "is a clear priority, but the ability to quickly expand social safety nets is limited in many cases, it was already difficult enough due to the effects of the pandemic," he said.
"As some countries have chosen to turn to costly and poorly targeted support measures, in the current emergency situation these measures are necessary, especially food support programs", he stressed.
"But they should eventually and progressively be phased out and replaced by better-targeted alternatives, ensuring that scarce resources go to those who need them most", he pointed out.
A scenario, underlined Marcos Souto, which does not apply to Angola, "which fortunately does not have this problem due to the extra oil revenues", but to countries in the region that are currently suffering from large limits within their budgets due to global conditions. ".
The IMF also estimated at 3.6 percent the expected growth of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for sub-Saharan Africa in 2022 and an inflation rate of 18 percent for Angola by the end of this year.
According to the IMF, sub-Saharan African countries need to adjust their budgets to stabilize debt as a percentage of GDP below 70 percent.
The 70 percent threshold, the report notes, "represents the top third of countries." For countries above this value, it is added, "the adjustment stabilizes the debt at the end of 2021".
The ceremony took place in the auditorium of the Museu da Moeda, in Luanda, and was organized by the IMF in partnership with the National Bank of Angola (BNA).