The countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone face severe economic hardships if help is not brought in and fear is not alleviated.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) met to decipher the plan to action. The plan was to offer zero-interest loans to help cover the three countries of concern, if only partially. Loans would provide relief “by around $130 million to help them meet financing gaps worth $300 million,” the Wall Street Journal reported. The IMF said the countries would need an additional $130 million to “cover the next six to nine months.”
Numbers predicted by the World Bank and IMF for next year are looking grim for economic growth in Sierra Leone, expected to drop from 11.3 percent to eight percent, growth cut more than half for Liberia to two-and-a-half percent growth and Guinea falling from three-and-a-half percent to just under two-and-a-half percent.
These predicted cuts in growth come after farmers have ceased to go into their fields, stores have closed up shop and because of fear of contracting Ebola, tourism has halted. It is predicted in Sierra Leone, there will be a one-third drop in agricultural output.
World Bank president Jim Kim responded to economic predictions pointing out that the crisis is not just about money. “The sooner we implement an effective response and decrease the level of fear of Ebola’s spread, the more we can limit the epidemic’s economic impacts.”
U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the nation September 16 concerning the Ebola outbreak and what the U.S. response would be, announcing the country will lead in the global effort of aid and will be deploying 3,000 members of the military and assist in the building of new healthcare buildings.
In addition to Obama’s pledges, the World Health Organization is asking for $1 billion to fight the spreading of the disease.
First signs of Ebola were seen in Guinea in March. The virus has now spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Nigeria. The disease has taken 2,630 lives with 5,357 known infections as of September 19.
– Kori Withers