DAKAR, Nov 10 (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund said on Friday it had reached a staff-level agreement with Mauritania for a $163-million three-year programme of reforms under an Extended Credit Facility.
Mauritania was hard hit by a decline in iron ore prices in 2014-15, which cut the country's exports in half, depressed economic growth and caused external debt to spike.
The IMF said in a statement it would extend financial assistance worth up to $163 million over three years while the government would gradually reduce spending to free up money for investments in social sectors and infrastructure.
"Mauritania's economic reform program supported by the IMF aims to foster inclusive and diversified growth," said Eric Mottu, the head of a recent IMF staff visit to the country.
The agreement still requires approval from the IMF's Executive Board, which is expected to consider it next month.
In addition to iron ore, the country has reserves of copper and gold, with mines owned by Kinross Gold Corp and First Quantum. (Reporting By Aaron Ross; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)