Tanzania: IMF boss appeals for grants to shore up Ebola-affected economies

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) – International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Christine Lagarde has highlighted the crucial importance of supporting the post-Ebola recovery of affected countries  by providing additional concessional financing, ideally in the form of grants.

Speaking Friday at a high-level roundtable on Ebola, which was part of the 2015 Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF in Washington DC, Lagarde said that significant investment in health, education, and physical infrastructure will be necessary.

“Given the decline in commodity prices, it is important to prioritize investments in these sectors and strengthen domestic revenue mobilization.

“It is equally important to strengthen public expenditure to ensure that every dollar spent translates into better services to the population, and in particular a lasting development of the health sector,” said Lagarde, assuring that the IMF “will continue to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone develop sound macroeconomic policies and strengthen their financial institutions to support their recovery plans.”

The heads of state of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone presented their Ebola recovery plans at the meeting and Lagarde told them: “We have worked with your governments to assess the macroeconomic implications and the policy response. To date, we have provided financing of almost $390 million, including about $100 million in grants for IMF debt service relief from the recently established Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust. This is immediate ‘cash in the bank’ for these countries.”

On Thursday Germany and the UK announced US$72 million of additional contributions to this Trust and Lagarde remarked: “This puts us almost halfway to our goal of raising US$150 million.”

During the Spring Meetings, the IMF chief has strongly urged other countries “to step up to ensure that we can provide debt relief in response to a future crisis like Ebola.”

Though Liberia and Sierra Leone have come a long way in fighting Ebola, Lagarde cautioned that “there is no time for complacency” because “all three countries face a second shock.”

“The recent sharp decline in commodity prices will significantly impair prospects for recovery. Many investors are considering delaying projects, while some operating mines have already suspended their activities,” she added.
-0- PANA AR 17April2015

17 april 2015 19:06:14

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