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In Sierra Leone GDP to recover to 4.3 pct as Ebola shock subsides -IMF

GDP growth in the West African state should touch around 6.5 percent by 2020 as the effects of the shocks subside, the International Monetary Fund said in a statement.

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen at the IMF headquarters building during the 2013 Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, April 18, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas play The International Monetary Fund (IMF) logo is seen at the IMF headquarters building during the 2013 Spring Meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank in Washington, April 18, 2013. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Sierra Leone's economic growth should reach 4.3 percent this year as it recovers from the twin shocks of an Ebola epidemic and a slump in iron ore prices that shrank its economy by 21.1 percent in 2015, the IMF said on Friday.

GDP growth in the West African state should touch around 6.5 percent by 2020 as the effects of the shocks subside, the International Monetary Fund said in a statement.

Diamonds and agriculture form the backbone of Sierra Leone's economy, but iron ore is also an important export. The country is recovering from an Ebola epidemic that killed nearly 4,000 people and severely damaged the mining sector.

"The budget is under severe pressure," the IMF said, noting that the Leone currency had depreciated 22 percent against the U.S. dollar between mid-2014 and end-2015.

"Living standards have also deteriorated significantly," the statement said.

"The risks to the outlook are firmly to the downside, given ... various uncertainties: a further slowdown in China could worsen the economic outlook, and iron ore production may again shut down if the company continues to produce at a loss."

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