WASHINGTON - The International Monetary Fund is giving war-torn Mali a vote of confidence with a emergency loan of $18.4 million. The fund's board approved the loan Monday, as the impoverished country tries to recover from an Islamist insurgency.
The loan comes two weeks after France began a military operation to oust radical Islamists from the country's northern half. The militants seized the territory more than nine months ago in the wake of a military coup in the capital of Bamako.
Following the coup, the IMF suspended a $46.3 million loan approved in 2011 that was intended to be disbursed gradually through 2014. The IMF says that Mali faces a budget shortfall of $110 million despite a recent austerity plan. The fund says that it hopes international donors will step up.
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