Angolan President Joao Lourenco has formally requested that the IMF commence negotiations over a package of reforms and bailout funding for Africa’s second-biggest oil exporter. The request is believed to be for an IMF facility to provide emergency funding with extended maturation dates, and not a full rescue of Angola’s public finances.

The IMF loan would help encourage other potential lenders, and it would provide President Lourenco with political cover to implement reforms to diversify the Angolan economy and chip away at the state-owned oil monopoly.

The move comes after a difficult few years for Angola’s oil-dependent economy. The country was hit hard by the post-2014 plunge in oil prices, and total oil output has been trending down owing to a lack of foreign investment. Angola’s average daily output is expected to fall to 1.5 million barrels per day in 2018, down from 1.9 million in 2008.