IMF appeals for help to countries affected by Ebola outbreak

GMT 03:21 2014 Tuesday ,21 October

Arab Today, arab today IMF appeals for help to countries affected by Ebola outbreak

Ebola virus
Dar Es Salaam - XINHUA

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday appealed to the donor community to provide grants to countries affected by the Ebola outbreak to avoid a decline in their economies.
The Ebola virus has already killed near 4,600 people in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia with the World Health Organization (WHO) saying it is focusing on 15 African countries in its efforts to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
"In the countries currently affected by the Ebola outbreak, fiscal accounts are coming under considerable pressure," said Antoinette Sayeh, director of IMF's African Department.
She said the Ebola outbreak was exacting a heavy economic toll, with economic spillovers starting to materialize in some neighboring countries.
Introducing the October 2014 IMF Regional Economic Outlook for Sub-Saharan Africa in Tanzania's commercial capital Dar es Salaam, Sayeh said the affected countries should be supported through grants to enable them to accommodate higher Ebola-related spending.
"The grants should also help avoid an even more pronounced decline in economic activity," she said.
Sayeh said when grants were not immediately forthcoming, and provided that the public debt levels remained manageable, fiscal debts should be allowed to widen, subject to the availability of financing.
"Should the Ebola outbreak be more protracted or spread to more countries, it would have severe consequences in the affected countries and larger spillovers," she said.
However, Sayeh said sub-Saharan Africa region's economy was forecast to continue growing at a fast clip, expanding by about 5 percent in 2014, the same level as in 2013 and accelerating to around 5 and three quarters percent in 2014.
She said the growth was underpinned by continued public investment in infrastructure, buoyant services sectors and agricultural production.

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