Economic growth in Mauritania remains sustained despite the effects of the acute drought and the slowdown in external demand, International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Tuesday after a mission visit. "Real GDP growth, estimated at 4% for 2011, underperformed initial forecasts, owing essentially to the significant drop in agricultural production. Inflation remains under control at 5.7%, despite higher international prices of food and petroleum products," IMF said. The mission congratulated the authorities on having successfully met the end-2011 program performance criteria and structural benchmarks. The mission also urged the authorities to accelerate the pace of implementation of structural reforms even more, with regard to the civil service, public enterprises, public financial management, and social protection. Further, the authorities are encouraged to continue improving the business environment, including by implementing the new procurement code, adopting the new investment code, making tax credit refund payments on a regular and ongoing basis, and putting in place a framework for consultation with the private sector. For 2012, IMF projected growth to reach 5.5%, buoyed by the vigorous recovery in agricultural production and the expected uptick in activity in the building and public works sector. Inflation is set to remain contained within the 7% ceiling. However, the current account is expected to worsen significantly, largely as a result of imports under the 2012 EMEL program and infrastructure projects, in particular, the new power plant and the new airport in Nouakchott. Mauritania’s economic resilience to exogenous shocks will be further strengthened by its comfortable foreign exchange reserve position, equivalent to around 3.8 months of import coverage at yearend, IMF said.