Washington, DC and Accra, Ghana, November
5, 2014—IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today announced a package
of at least $450 million in commercial financing that will enable trade,
investment, and employment in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The private
sector initiative will include $250 million in rapid response projects,
and at least $200 million in investment projects planned to support post-epidemic
economic recovery. 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 $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
“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. "The fear swirling around
Ebola has the potential to do long-term harm to businesses globally, and
especially in the Ebola-affected countries. Our private sector arm—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 begun 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.
In another project Cordaid of the Netherlands will provide $4.6 million
in new financing to IFC’s West Africa Venture Fund, focusing on small
and medium enterprises in Sierra Leone and Liberia. Further rapid response
projects are under consideration.
“IFC intends to take risks in an ambitious effort to provide commercial
financing in the months ahead, and to support recovery as the Ebola epidemic
comes under control,” said Jin-Yong Cai, IFC Executive Vice President
and CEO. “IFC will find and create opportunities to encourage private
investors to play a large role in the recovery of markets directly and
indirectly affected by the ongoing Ebola outbreak in West Africa.”
The World Bank Group is mobilizing nearly $1.0 billion for the three countries
hardest hit by the Ebola crisis, including $400 million announced in August
and September 2014 for the emergency response, and another $100 million
announced in October 2014 to help speed up the deployment of foreign health
workers to countries. Of the previously announced $500 million, $117 million
has already been disbursed. This support—coordinated closely with the
United Nations and other international and country partners—will assist
the affected countries in treating the sick, providing essential food and
water to Ebola-affected households, coping with the economic and social
impact of the crisis, and starting to improve their public health systems
to build up resilience and preparedness for potential future outbreaks.
The World Bank Group also recently released a report that said that if
the virus continues to surge in the three worst-affected countries and
spreads to neighboring countries, the two-year regional financial impact
could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015.
To find out more about the World Bank Group’s Ebola response, visit www.worldbank.org/ebola.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private
enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and
influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.
In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives
in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development.
For more information, visit www.ifc.org.