The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has approved a US$143 million disbursement to help address the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Sierra Leone.
According to the IMF, the pandemic is taking a heavy toll on Sierra Leone’s economy, jeopardising hard-won gains since the Ebola health crisis.
The IMF said that it has approved the disbursement of US$143 million, under the Rapid Credit Facility, to support the authorities’ response to COVID-19. The purpose of the grant is to help Sierra Leone to meet the urgent balance of payments and fiscal needs stemming from the pandemic.
Tao Zhang, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of the IMF, said that the COVID‑19 pandemic has put Sierra Leone’s population at risk and is a serious blow to the economy, which has just started to recover. The number of COVID-19 cases is increasing rapidly, threatening the fragile health system. The drop in external demand and essential measures to contain the spread of the virus are sharply curtailing economic activity.
“The authorities are taking decisive actions to mitigate the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic. In collaboration with development partners, they are scaling up urgent health spending and introducing measures, including boosting social safety nets and ensuring access to credit for affected businesses,” Tao Zhang said.
“The shock has generated a large balance of payments need. Emergency financing under the Rapid Credit Facility will help meet this financing gap and create room for pandemic-related spending. With significant downside risks and a tight financing situation threatening to reverse Sierra Leone’s progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, additional grant support from the international community is urgently needed.”