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David E. Bloom, Daniel Cadarette, and JP Sevilla

Finance & Development, June 2018

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

The proposed three-month extension would enable conclusion of the discussions for the review. In the past months, the authorities and staff have made progress towards completion of the review, but further discussions are needed in some areas, including the issues described above. The requested extension would provide the time needed to reach staff-level agreement in these areas, and, if needed, build broader consensus in the country on the agreed policies. The conclusion of the outstanding fourth program review could, in staff's view, also provide an opportunity for the authorities to request a rephasing of the fifth and sixth reviews and a further extension of the arrangement.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

KEY ISSUESBackground. With the highest number of new and cumulative Ebola cases recorded to date, Liberia is the country most affected by the epidemic in West Africa. In addition to exacting a heavy human toll, the Ebola outbreak is having a severe economic and social impact, and could jeopardize the gains from a decade of peace. The largest sectors of the economy (agriculture, services and mining) have been weakened by the epidemic, resulting in significant financing gaps for the fiscal and external accounts. The closure of international borders and, in particular, the internal quarantines are disrupting labor and food supply, leading to shortages of basic commodities, depreciation pressures and higher inflation.Request. The authorities are requesting an ad-hoc augmentation of access under the ECF and an immediate additional disbursement of SDR 32.3 million, equivalent to 25 percent of quota, to help bridge the significant financing need that has emerged in the wake of the outbreak. The authorities are also requesting modification of end-December performance criteria to allow on-lending of the equivalent of the Fund support to the government.Appraisal. Staff supports the authorities� request for an augmentation of access and immediate disbursement in light of the urgency and size of the balance of payments need. Staff also supports the requested modification of end-December 2014 performance criteria via a program adjustor to allow the on-lending of the additional Fund support to the government.Program status. The third ECF review was concluded on July 3, 2014. Available information indicates that the program remains on track and that continuous PCs are being met.Program financing. The proposed augmentation would complement assistance committed by other stakeholders including US$19 million in additional budget support from the African Development Bank and the World Bank, and would help catalyze support from other donors. The authorities have committed to take the necessary measures to address any residual financing gap.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This paper discusses Liberia's Fourth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement and Requests for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria (PC), Modification of PC, and Rephasing and Extension of the Arrangement. The end-June 2014 quantitative PC on government revenues and central bank net foreign exchange position, and one indicative target on net domestic assets were not met. Only three out of seven structural benchmarks for the fourth review were met. Based on the authorities' corrective actions, the IMF staff supports completion of the delayed fourth ECF review, and the authorities' request for an extension and re-phasing of the program to end-December 2016.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Liberia’s Fourth Review Under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) Arrangement and Requests for Waivers of Nonobservance of Performance Criteria (PC), Modification of PC, and Rephasing and Extension of the Arrangement. The end-June 2014 quantitative PC on government revenues and central bank net foreign exchange position, and one indicative target on net domestic assets were not met. Only three out of seven structural benchmarks for the fourth review were met. Based on the authorities’ corrective actions, the IMF staff supports completion of the delayed fourth ECF review, and the authorities’ request for an extension and re-phasing of the program to end-December 2016.
International Monetary Fund
Liberia’s Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy (iPRS) sets out the emerging process and framework for recovery and reconstruction in the context of post-conflict Liberia. The iPRSP sets out the national socio-economic context, the preparatory process, dimensions of the emerging policy, capacity-building and program choices and priorities for poverty reduction and development, as well as anticipated implementation challenges. It also represents a further opportunity for deepening Liberia's development partnership. Liberia needs to be rebuilt at all levels of the public sector, private sector, and civil society.
International Monetary Fund
Liberia’s Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper highlights the civil war as the underlying cause of extreme poverty. A major challenge for the government is to attract more donor aid and private investment in the provision of infrastructure given its own limited budget and the constraints on borrowing. It is appropriate in the short to medium term to focus on supporting the restoration of traditional sources of growth, such as agriculture, forestry and mining, while establishing an environment that in the longer term will support economic diversification.