Outlook for 1999-2000: The return of the reformist ex-prime minister, Jean-Paul Ngoupande, to the political fray will liven up the debate in the run-up to the presidential election in 1999. However, provided his health holds, President Ange-Felix Patasse is likely to win another term. The legislative election due this year should provide an early indication of the strength of rival parties. While the IMF believes that reforms will deepen, recovery is fragile and vulnerable to gloomy global commodity markets.
Review: The former prime minister, Mr Ngoupande, has returned from France to resurrect his political career. The independent electoral commission has been sworn in, but the scheduled legislative election has been postponed until November-December because of organisational problems. The mandate of the UN peacekeeping force has been extended until late October. The IMF has finally approved an ESAF, but the GDP targets it sets out look ambitious.