World Bank pledges $650m for economic recovery from Ebola

17 May 15

The World Bank will provide around $650m during the next 12 to 18 months to help Ebola-stricken countries Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone recover from the social and economic impact of the deadly virus.

It said international support was vital to speed up recovery as new growth estimates showed Ebola had left a trail of beleaguered economies in its wake.

Forecast losses for 2015 in the three West African countries increased to $2.2bn, compared to the bank’s last economic update in January which put losses at $1.6bn. By country, the economic losses break down at $240m for Liberia, $535m for Guinea and $1.4bn for Sierra Leone.

Alongside the disease outbreak, economies in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone suffered from a sharp fall in global iron ore prices. Sierra Leone in particular saw its mining sector collapse and is now facing recession – growth is estimated to contract by 23.5% this year.

Guinea’s economy will also contract by 0.2% for 2015, compared to the pre-Ebola growth rate of 4.3%, the bank said.
Liberia is slowly recovering the bank noted, with growth expected to reach 3% in 2015, higher than last year, but well below pre-Ebola estimates of 6.8%.

The bank said additional international financing was urgently needed to help the three countries fully recover and reclaim the positive development and growth path they had before the epidemic struck.

Making the pledge at an Ebola summit during World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s spring meetings in Washington, president Jim Yong Kim, said: ‘Even as we work relentlessly to get to zero new Ebola cases, the international community must help Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone jumpstart their recovery and build a safer, more prosperous and resilient future for their people.

‘Many of us have acknowledged that the international community was slow to react to Ebola. Let’s show that we have learned this lesson by supporting an effective and sustainable recovery that also prepares these countries – and the rest of the world – for the next pandemic.’

Ebola has infected more than 25,790 people and left more than 10,680 of them dead, according to recent estimates from the World Health Organization. In the week leading up to April 12, it confirmed 37 new cases, compared with 30 the previous week.

‘The full recovery of Ebola-affected countries is only possible when the outbreak has ended and safeguards have been put in place to prevent re-introduction of the disease,’ added United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, who attended the World Bank Ebola summit.

‘Our energy must now focus on effective action to eliminate Ebola, the revival and strengthening of health systems, and ensuring the resilience of communities in the face of future threats: these are a precondition for sustainable and durable recovery.’

  • Judith Ugwumadu
    Judith Ugwumadu

    Judith writes about public finance, public services and economics across Public Finance International and Public Finance. She previously undertook reporting stints at Financial Adviser, Global Security Finance and The Sunday Express.

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