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I want to watch up-close the fastest sprinters on Earth - IMF country rep

Published:Tuesday | June 6, 2017 | 12:00 AMErica Virtue

International Monetary Fund (IMF) country representative to Jamaica Constant Lonkeng Ngouana is here to monitor the country's commitment to the fiscal targets and to keep the country in line for a successful conclusion to the current four-year agreement with the Fund.

But Ngouana is not confined to air-conditioned offices in Kingston, leafing through figures, studying economic models, or lecturing local officials about sticking to growth targets.

Instead, the resident representative - who holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon; a master's degree in international economics and development from the Economics School of Louvain, Belgium; and a PhD in economics from the University of Montreal, Canada - is making the most of Jamaica and the people he calls "beautiful".

"I have been here for the last 10 months and I have been getting around much more than you think. I was in Mandeville last week (two weeks ago), where I was the keynote speaker at a function for the Manchester Chamber of Commerce," he told The Gleaner last week.

Ngouana was among several officials on tour of the just reopened Alumina Partners bauxite mining company in partnership with Chinese company Jiuquan Iron and Steel.

"Jamaica is a very, very beautiful place, and the people are even more beautiful," he gushed when asked to comment on his time in Jamaica so far.

Ngouana is not only enthralled by the beauty of Jamaica and the people.

"The climate is wonderful and it complements the beauty of the people and the country. I promise to enjoy the country while I am here," he said.

Shortly after arriving in Jamaica, he said that he was looking forward to working with the Government of Jamaica. He also signalled an interest in track and field, saying that he was hoping to "watch up-close the fastest sprinters on Earth".

This Saturday, he will get a chance to watch the world's fastest man, Usain St Leo Bolt, compete for the final time in Jamaica at the Racers Invitational meet to be held at the National Stadium.