Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Amara M. Konneh headed a small Liberian delegation to Washington, DC on Monday, 6th October, to participate in the upcoming annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Liberian delegation is tasked with the responsibility to make serious case for the receding Liberian economy and ensure that the international support is landed to fight the Ebola virus and restore the post conflict economy which enjoyed an 8 percent annual growth prior to the Ebola outbreak.
The meeting comes at a time when Liberia is experiencing the worst ever outbreak of the deadly “Ebola Virus Disease” (EVD), which has claimed many lives, posing further risk of exposure to the larger population and a severe impact on the economy.
While in the US, Minister Konneh, who is being joined by the Executive Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, is expected to hold series of multilateral and bilateral discussions aimed at rallying support for the government’s “National Ebola Response Strategy,” including the overall efforts to contain and defeat the disease and resource mobilization to address the potential economic impact of the Ebola virus on the Liberian economy.
The Liberian delegation is also expected to play a key role in a special “Ebola Roundtable” involving UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki Moon, the World Bank President, Jim Yong Kim, IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, and a host of development partners.
The delegation will also hold separate meetings with key partners financing existing infrastructure projects in the country in a bid to ensure funding and implementation of these projects are not adversely affected by the Ebola crisis.
Since it emerged in Liberia in March 2014, the Ebola virus outbreak has seriously affected economic activities throughout the country, with concession companies scaling down their operations as expatriates depart the country for fear of the EVD and a general decline in the real sector of the economy and commerce, affecting livelihoods across the nation.
An MFDP statement yesterday quotes Minister Konneh as saying “economic growth is projected to slow by more than 85%, from 5.9% to 1%, exacerbating the already volatile youth unemployment outlook.”
“Our immediate priority is mitigating the immediate impact of the outbreak by financing the budget to keep our development agenda on track, but in the medium to long-term we will also aim to secure financing for a comprehensive post-Ebola economic recovery plan.”
Recently the Liberian government and its partners announced it would require roughly US $ 375 million to effectively fund its National Ebola Response and Restoration of Basic Health Services strategy in addition to support already provided by different international organizations on the ground.