Julius Maada Bio, the President of Sierra Leone/Bloomberg

Economy

IMF support crucial to lure investors to Sierra Leone, President

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Sierra Leone resumed an agreement with the IMF for a $172 million extended credit facility in December after an earlier deal with the administration of former President Ernest Bai Koroma, stalled because the country did not meet the program’s targets.

Wednesday 13, March 2019

(Bloomberg) – The President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio is counting on his country’s programme with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to attract infrastructure investments and revive an economy that is struggling to recover from the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola.

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

“We encourage serious investors from around the world that Sierra Leone is the place to be,” added Bio.

Once one of the great hopes of West African mining, the nation was hit by the iron-ore price collapse and the Ebola epidemic around the same time. While BSG Resources, controlled by billionaire Beny Steinmetz, is working to revive the Koidu mine that has produced some of the most valuable stones in the world, Sierra Leone has few other sources of foreign revenue.

Bio’s government will be up to the humongous task of bringing down inflation, which was 17.5 per cent year-on-year in December.

“We are working very hard to bring macro-economic stability, we are up to the task,” said Bio.

 

TAGS : IMF , double-digit inflation, President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio

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