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Ebola impact on Sierra Leone exceeds US$1b

Arthur Douglas/Benjamin S. Taingay
Sierra Leones Finance Minister, Kaifala Marah,
Sierra Leones Finance Minister, Kaifala Marah,

( 27, 2015)-Sierra Leone’s Finance Minister, Kaifala Marah, says the ebola virus economic impact on the country is over US$1-billion.

Minister Marah said Sierra Leone lost some investments in the private sector, adding: “It will take the country about two years of development to fully recover.”

“More than a billion dollars, I would say, if you look at the socio-economic impact and many other value-chain elements,” he also said.

the Sierra Leonean Finance Minister also said. Panelist Marah was making a presentation at the high-level panel discussion, being hosted by the African Development Bank (ADB) Group in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The forum, led by African Development Bank President, Donald Kaberuka, commenced Monday, May 25, 2016 and is part of the institution’s Annual meetings.

The high-level panel discussion was held under the theme, “Are we ready for the next epidemic: Fixing Africa’s Primary Healthcare Systems”. Minister Marah said Sierra Leone was among the fastest growing economies in the region and was on the path to becoming a resilient nation.

“Before Ebola struck, we felt we were on the trajectory of becoming a resilient country,” Minister Marah said. “We are a post-conflict fragile state, no doubt, but then the UN Mission closed, because we were doing well.”

He recalled that Sierra Leonean had installed over one hundred megawatts of electricity and kilometers of roads, instituted free health care services, with tremendous progress in agriculture.

But with the outbreak, the Sierra Leonean Foreign and Development Minister said everything stalled, and as a result, the significant development strides stalled.

Supporting President Johnson-Sirleaf’s comments, Minister Marah noted that Liberia’s revenues declined as prices of iron ore dropped.

The Finance and Development Minister also emphasized the need for mutual accountability and systems to ensure team work with development partners.

“It will be useful to now emphasize a new deal, to now emphasize a mutual accountability framework, to now emphasize the systems and processes that help us work as a team such that we have basket of fund,” he said.

Sierra Leone and Guinea are still battling with the Ebola virus disease.

Meanwhile, President Johnson-Sirleaf, continuously advocating a regional approach to tackling the Ebola pandemic, told the discussion that the Liberian Government will continue assisting Guinea and Sierra Leonean until they recover from the virus.

At the same time, the Bank Group’s outgoing President, Kaberuka, said the entity maintains its regional plan for development in the West African Sub-region while combating ebola.

Mr. Kaberuka said the bank will continue its infrastructure projects, including connecting the Manu River Union Countries through paved road network.

He also stressed the need to address the fragility in the MRU member countries, including Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire. Kaberuka made the comments in his opening remarks at the high-level discussions.



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