AfDB offers $150 million to help West Africa handle Ebola fallout: Le Monde

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) told West African countries hardest hit by an Ebola epidemic they were willing to give $150 million to help balance their public finances, but they must first show they are doing everything possible to improve their health systems.

Economic growth in Liberia and Sierra Leone could decline by almost 3.5 percentage points and Guinea 1 percentage point, exposing financing gaps totaling $100 million to $130 million in each of the three countries, the IMF said on Thursday.

Efforts to stem the spread of Ebola have disrupted regional trade and transport and domestic commerce in several states.

“The urgency is to stabilize public finances,” AfDB chief Donald Kaberuka told Le Monde newspaper in remarks published on Saturday. “The bank is ready to unblock $150 million to help Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to consolidate their budgets and their currencies.”

“But it will depend on extra effort that they improve their health systems and food safety,” he said.

AfDB announced in August it would donate $60 million to help train medical workers and purchase supplies to fight the Ebola outbreak.

The death toll has risen to more than 2,400 people out of 4,784 cases with the number of new Ebola cases in West Africa growing faster than authorities can manage them, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

Kaberuka, who predicted a drop in growth of 2 percent to 2.5 percent for the three countries, said the bank would soon discuss how to divide up the $150 million.

Source : Reuters