Economy slows to nearly zero in 2015 - IMF

The government deficit is set to increase from 1.9 percent of GDP last year to 8.1 percent in 2015, the IMF said.

A photographer takes pictures through a glass carrying the International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo during a news conference in Bucharest March 25, 2009.  REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel

Liberia's economic growth will slow to almost zero in 2015 before picking up next year as the country continues to recover from an Ebola epidemic, the International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday.

The West African economy has been hit by a slump in global commodity prices and a delay in natural resource investment projects, the IMF said. Ebola killed more than 4,800 people in Liberia and hurt the agricultural and mining sectors.

"Growth in 2014 is estimated at 0.7 percent and is projected to remain weak at 0.3 percent this year," Liberia's IMF mission chief Carlo Sdralevich said during an annual budget review.

"A gradual recovery should take hold starting in 2016, largely driven by the gold sector and the strengthening of the post-Ebola rebound."

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said in September it would take two years for Liberia to recover its economic footing.

The IMF said in September that Sierra Leone's economy would shrink by more than a fifth this year because of a collapse in iron ore prices that triggered a mining crisis, on top of the Ebola outbreak.

Ebola has killed more than 11,300 people in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. Liberia was declared Ebola free in September, while Sierra Leone should also be free from the disease on Nov. 7. Only a few cases remain in Guinea.


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