IMF to give Ebola-hit west Africa US$127 million http://www.enca.com/imf-give-ebola-hit-west-africa-us127mln#

WASHINGTON – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone could receive an additional $127-million from the International Monetary Fund to help them deal with the worst-ever outbreak of the Ebola virus, the IMF said on Wednesday.

The funds, which must still be approved by the IMF’s executive board, could help cover financing gaps in the West African countries over the next six to nine months, which the IMF estimates at $300-million in total.

“The Ebola outbreak is a severe human, social and economic crisis that requires a resolute response from the international community,” IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said in a statement. “The governments of the three countries have requested additional IMF support to help

cover the acute financing needs they are facing as a result of the outbreak.”

“Additional and prompt balance of payments and budget support from the countries’ bilateral and multilateral development partners will be important to support macroeconomic stability through this challenging period,” the IMF said.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are among the poorest countries in the region and the hardest-hit by the worst Ebola epidemic since 1976, which has killed nearly 2,500 people.

The proposed funds would represent an expansion of the three countries’ current IMF programs. Guinea already has a $200 million program from the IMF while Liberia is getting about US$80 million from the fund and Sierra Leone has an IMF program of about $96 million.

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