Sierra Leone Sees IMF Support as Crucial to Luring Investors – by Andre Janse Van Vuuren (Bloomberg News – March 13, 2019)

Sierra Leone is counting on its program with the International Monetary Fund to attract infrastructure investments and revive an economy that’s struggling to recover from the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola.

The government of President Julius Maada Bio resumed an agreement with the Washington-based lender for a $172 million extended credit facility in December after an earlier deal with the administration of his predecessor, Ernest Bai Koroma, stalled because it didn’t meet the program’s targets.

Plagued by chronic corruption, double-digit inflation and the legacy of a civil war, economic growth probably stalled at 3.7 percent last year and has persistently failed in recent years to match expansion of as much as 21 percent prior to the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in 2014. Growth may see a slight improvement to 5.4 percent this year, according to the IMF.

“We have to shed that image of Ebola and the war and the other calamities of the past,” Maada Bio said Tuesday in an interview with Mike McKee on Bloomberg Television. “We encourage serious investors from around the world that Sierra Leone is the place to be.”

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