The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved $129.5 million to help three West African countries battle the ravages of the Ebola epidemic, and this aid became necessary in the light of the economic decline and hardships experienced by these countries on account of the Ebola virus disease.
Although almost all West African countries have come under the negative impacts of the Ebola disease on their economies, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone have been worse hit. The executive board of the IMF has therefore signed off on this grant to help them recover from the economic losses occasioned by EVD, and to return them to the path of speedy economic recovery. Nigeria has also recorded a minimal number of Ebola cases compared to the other three aforementioned countries.
According to Antoinette Sayeh, the IMF director for the African Development, the approved funds will be transferred next week to the central banks of the affected countries. She also gave a breakdown of the grant thus, “$41.4 million will go to Guinea, $48.3 million for Liberia and to Sierra Leone $39.8 million. What we’ve tried to do is to estimate the additional financing needs budget and balance of payment financing needs that they are confronting…all three countries will see considerable decline in the revenues that had previously been anticipated in 2014.”
Sayeh further justified the financial allocation by saying that “in order to try to protect the reform program and the development spending they had foreseen, one needs to bring additional financing to the budget because without that you risk of course reducing investment expenditures significantly that will impair their ability to grow down the road. Ideally, [we hope] this epidemic would be brought under control quickly to save the many lives that are at stake and to get these countries back on track to resume their growth. We do want to prepare to be responsive in case things look worse than we hope, and in that context we certainly are looking at what can be done in case the situation deteriorates.”
This fund becomes all the more necessary because the WHO reports that 6,263 Ebola cases have been confirmed in West Africa with 2,917 deaths.