Press Release: IMF Staff Proposes Financial Assistance to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to Address Economic Impact of Ebola Outbreak
September 17, 2014Press Release No. 14/419
September 17, 2014
The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is exacting an acute human and economic toll that requires rapid action by the international community. International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff has prepared a prospective institutional response and is recommending to the Fund’s Executive Board to extend additional financial support to Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone of about US$127 million.
“The Ebola outbreak is a severe human, social and economic crisis that requires a resolute response from the international community,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “The governments of the three countries have requested additional IMF support to help cover the acute financing needs they are facing as a result of the outbreak. We are working very closely with them to help address these needs as quickly as possible.”
Beyond the human toll, the Ebola outbreak is having a significant economic and social impact on the three countries. Preliminary IMF staff estimates show that growth is likely to slow sharply in all three countries as key economic sectors such as agriculture, mining, and services are being disrupted. Food and labor supply disruptions are hitting the poor and vulnerable groups hardest. Significant financing gaps have emerged as export and tax revenue have fallen, and governments try to meet additional needs to finance their healthcare systems and food and fuel imports.
Contingent on the IMF Executive Board’s approval, the proposed IMF financing will immediately be made available to the governments. It will help cover a sizeable share of the total financing gap of some US$300 million estimated over the next 6 to 9 months by staff for the three countries. Additional and prompt balance of payments and budget support from the countries’ bilateral and multilateral development partners will be important to support macroeconomic stability through this challenging period.
The IMF Executive Board will consider the proposed additional financing in early October.
IMF COMMUNICATIONS DEPARTMENT