IMF Monetary body sees Liberia's GDP growth at 2.5 pct in 2016

A significant number of non-performing loans have also hampered the banking sector, the IMF said.

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People walk along a street market in Monrovia October 13, 2011. play People walk along a street market in Monrovia October 13, 2011. (REUTERS/Luc Gnago)
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Higher gold production and a rebound in services and construction will help Liberia's economy grow by 2.5 percent in 2016 compared to an estimated 0.3 percent last year, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

In a statement released at the end of a visit by a mission to Liberia, which was battered by a three-year Ebola outbreak, the IMF said that economic growth was projected to stabilise at around 6 percent over the medium term.

But the 6 percent growth projection is significantly lower than an earlier forecast of 8 percent growth, which the IMF said reflected a lowering of the mining sector's investment and production targets.

A significant number of non-performing loans have also hampered the banking sector, the IMF said.

"The economic outlook is set to remain challenging," the IMF said in a statement. "Downside risks are high, particularly in light of the possible deeper-than-estimated second-round effects of the commodity price shock."

Inflation is expected to remain at around 7 percent.

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said in September it would take two years for Liberia's economy to recover from an Ebola epidemic that killed more than 4,800 people in the country and hurt the agricultural and mining sectors.

The West African nation was declared free of the Ebola virus by global health experts in January but suffered a new Ebola death last month.

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