World Bank president Jim Yong Kim
US$450 Million Initiative Launched For Private Sector Trade, Investment In Ebola-Affected Countries
WASHINGTION, DC and Accra, Ghana, November 6 – International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, Wednesday announced a package of at least US$450 million in commercial financing that will enable trade, investment, and employment in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
The private sector initiative will include US$250 million in rapid response projects, and at least US$200 million in investment projects planned to support post-epidemic economic recovery.
According to a press statement, the IFC initiative is part of the World Bank Group’s broad effort to provide support during the Ebola epidemic and prepare for economic recovery in the countries most affected by the crisis.
The initiative includes a US$75 million Ebola Emergency Liquidity Facility to fund critical imports for Ebola-affected countries. This rapid response program was approved by IFC’s board last week.
It will initially be made available to fund six existing IFC client banks, and could be extended to additional banks.
The facility will support the import of basic goods, including energy, food and agricultural commodities, and other manufacturing goods.
“Ebola is a humanitarian crisis first and foremost, but it's also an economic disaster for Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. That's why in addition to our emergency aid we will do all we can to help support the private sector in these countries to build back their businesses," said Jim Yong Kim, president of the World Bank Group.
Kim not that the growing fear around Ebola has the potential to do long-term harm to businesses globally especially in the Ebola-affected countries.
He indicated that the private sector arm of IFC will find ways to help boost trade and investment in West Africa, which will be essential to ensure that private companies continue to operate and sustain employment under difficult circumstances.
In addition to the liquidity facility, IFC’s rapid response includes a program started in October to reach 800 small and medium enterprises in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone to help ensure business continuity during the crisis.
The program will provide medical and hygiene supplies; related literature and training on preventive measures.