IMF Predicts Economic Growth in 2016

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF), through its Liberia Country Representative, Charles Amo-Yartey, has predicted that Liberia’s post-Ebola economic recovery will rise to about 3% in 2016.

When the IMF prediction shall have materialized, a good number of Liberians are expected to be able to access finance and afford daily bread through various means, including entrepreneurial, agricultural and service activities, among others.

Dr. Amo-Yartey announced the prediction in a meeting with civil society organizations on December 16 at a local resort in Monrovia.

He said Liberia’s economy is on the rise and would have reached up to 7% in 2014, but the interruption by the Ebola virus disease reduced it to about less than 1%. Underscoring some activities that facilitate economic growth, Dr. Amo-Yartey named better policies, high prices of commodities, better institutions and capital inflows.

Backing his prediction, he said it will be enhanced by the extractive industries and the service sector.

He said that making use of the land to produce consumable crops and manufacturing will aid the expected growth.

However, representatives of various civil society organizations, including Women NGO Network, Center for Transparency and Accountability in Liberia (CENTAL) and media organizations doubted as to how the growth will be realized when none of the requirements needed for economic growth are not in place.

In a cross section of views, participants observed that prices of rubber and iron ore, Liberia’s chief exporting products, have dropped and that many companies have downsized their workforces.

Also, farmers who produce other crops, especially food, find it difficult to earn money from their products, most of which are perishable due to the lack of roads to access markets. Many others are engaged in subsistence farming.

John Kollie of the Liberia Media Democracy Initiative called on the IMF to approach the Liberian government to implement policies that will enhance economic growth and not to treat the issue with diplomacy and lip service.

He said as prices of rubber and iron ore have dropped, farmers are equally finding it difficult to bring their goods to the market.

“All of those agricultural programs, including the Lofa County Agriculture Development Project (LCADP), Nimba County Agriculture Development Project (NCRDP) and Bong County Agriculture Development Project (BCADP) are no longer here; and during the days of their existence, citizens were feeling the impact of the economy. The Liberia Produce Marketing Company (LPMC) was also here buying produce from farmers, but it is no more,” Kollie said.

Meanwhile, the discussion was the beginning of many the IMF has decided to have with civil society organizations to find solutions to help Liberia’s economy to grow. According to IMF officials, civil society plays a cardinal role in the economic development of a country, and engaging them to discuss Liberia’s economy would help find solutions after Ebola.

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