IMF says Ebola will savage W. African economies

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A Senegalese health worker hands out Ebola prevention flyers during an Ebola awareness campaign in a market in the suburbs of Dakar on Friday. Senegal became the fifth country affected by the West African outbreak when an infected Guinean student crossed the border just before it closed on August 21. The outbreak began in Guinea at the start of the year before spreading through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. AFP PHOTO

A Senegalese health worker hands out Ebola prevention flyers during an Ebola awareness campaign in a market in the suburbs of Dakar on Friday. Senegal became the fifth country affected by the West African outbreak when an infected Guinean student crossed the border just before it closed on August 21. The outbreak began in Guinea at the start of the year before spreading through Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. AFP PHOTO

WASHINGTON, D.C.: The Ebola epidemic could slice more than three percentage points off economic growth in the worst-hit countries of West Africa, requiring hundreds of millions of dollars in financial aid, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Thursday (Friday in Manila).

“Beyond the human toll, Ebola looks set to cause significant harm to the economy of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone,” said IMF spokesman Bill Murray.

Growth could fall by 3.5 percentage points in Sierra Leone and Liberia, both of which were expanding quickly, at 11.3 percent and 5.9 percent respectively, prior to the outbreak in March near where their borders meet.

The disease, which has killed 2,300 so far, will have the heaviest effect on farming, mining and services business in the two countries.


The impact will be smaller but still severe in Guinea, where the crucial mining sector so far has not been hit by Ebola, Murray said. The IMF expects economic growth to be lower by 1.5 percentage points, falling to just 2.0 percent.

Murray said the impact of the epidemic could leave a financing hole for three governments of $100-$130 million each.

All are already receiving aid from the IMF.

“We’re in active engagement right now with the authorities to help determine how we can cover the additional financing requirement that they’re facing,” he said.

AFP

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