IMF Executive Board Approves US$130 Million in Immediate Assistance to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in Response to the Ebola Outbreak

IMF [to 27 September 2014]

IMF Executive Board Approves US$130 Million in Immediate Assistance to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone in Response to the Ebola Outbreak
Press Release No. 14/441
September 26, 2014
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today approved—in an expedited decision supported by a joint statement of all Directors—emergency financial assistance to Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone totaling US$130 million to help respond to the Ebola outbreak. The IMF financing will be made available to the three countries immediately, in the amounts of US$41 million for Guinea, US$49 million for Liberia and US$40 million for Sierra Leone. This emergency financing comes in addition to the assistance provided under existing programs for these countries. It will help cover part of the immediate balance of payments and fiscal needs currently estimated at about US$100 million for each country.

“The Ebola outbreak in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone has already cost too many lives,” said IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. “This humanitarian crisis could also have deep economic consequences. The governments of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone requested IMF support to enhance their efforts to contain this unprecedented epidemic that is disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable in their populations. The IMF is working hard with the authorities of the affected countries and their development partners to ensure that the outbreak is quickly brought under control and to assist the economic rebuilding effort that must follow.”

The Ebola Outbreak affecting the three countries has created a significant social and humanitarian crisis, and has so far proven difficult to contain despite efforts by the respective governments and their development partners. It is also having an acute macroeconomic and social impact on the three already-fragile countries. The crisis is still unfolding, but preliminary IMF estimates indicate that growth could decline by at least 3-3½ percent in Liberia and Sierra Leone and by about 1½ percent in Guinea in 2014. Inflationary pressures have flared up in the affected countries, and significant fiscal financing needs have emerged as the outbreak has caused sharp declines in tax revenues and Ebola-related spending had to be increased substantially. Additional and sizeable budget support from bilateral and multilateral development partners is urgently needed to avoid painful domestic adjustment measures and help eradicate the disease…