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Agnes Binagwaho

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International Monetary Fund
Provisional Agenda for the Thirteenth Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee
Mr. Serhan Cevik
This paper develops a gravity model framework to estimate the impact of infectious diseases on bilateral tourism flows among 38,184 pairs of countries over the period 1995–2017. The results confirm that international tourism is adversely affected by disease risk, and the magnitude of this negative effect is statistically and economically significant. In the case of SARS, for example, a 10 percent rise in confirmed cases leads to a reduction of as much as 9 percent in tourist arrivals. Furthermore, while infectious diseases appear to have a smaller and statistically insignificant negative effect on tourism flows to advanced economies, the magnitude and statistical significance of the impact of infectious diseases are much greater in developing countries, where such diseases tend to be more prevalent and health infrastructure lags behind.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

KEY ISSUESThe Ebola outbreak has inflicted a heavy toll on Guinea’s economy notwithstandingthe supportive macroeconomic policies the authorities put in place. Fiscal policy hasexpanded to reflect revenue shortfalls and higher Ebola-related spending, resulting in amarkedly higher budget deficit. Monetary policy has also been supportive, as inflationcontinued to trend downwards and reserve coverage of imports has remained adequate.Performance under the ECF program has been satisfactory. All quantitativeperformance criteria have been met. With the authorities focused on combating the Ebolaoutbreak, however, structural reform has advanced at a slower pace than previouslyenvisaged, delaying the implementation of a number of structural benchmarks.Macroeconomic policies in 2015 will remain supportive to help deal with the Ebolaoutbreak, which looks set to persist well into the year and induce a slight economiccontraction. The 2015 budget foresees a widening of the deficit to provide space forEbola-related spending, finance a significant salary increase for civil servants, and supportthe economy. Monetary policy will be relaxed to provide adequate liquidity to the privatesector and facilitate bank financing of the government budget. A concerted internationaleffort is needed to help the authorities fully implement their Ebola response plan. The2015 structural reform agenda focuses on finalizing growth-friendly measures.Risks are tilted to the downside. A prolonged presence of the Ebola epidemic couldfurther disrupt economic activity. The renewal of political tensions and politicaluncertainty in the run-up to the presidential elections in 2015 could discourage investorsand affect growth. However, Guinea would benefit from the recent decline in oil pricesStaff supports the completion of the 5th review under the ECF arrangement andfinancing assurances review and requests for: (i) an extension of the currentarrangement to end-2015; (ii) an augmentation in access; and (iii) disbursement of25 percent of quota as budget support under the 5th review. Completion of the reviewwill result in disbursement of SDR 45.135 million (42.1 percent of quota).

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.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYGuinea is suffering from an outbreak of Ebola, which has become a humanitarian crisis with a significant economic impact. Preliminary estimates suggest a negative impact on 2014 growth, which will be markedly lower. Government revenue is showing a substantial shortfall and the response to the Ebola outbreak entails additional critical spending needs. The exchange rate has started to depreciate. The authorities intend to adopt a tighter monetary policy to address the transitory balance of payments shock.Performance under the ECF-supported program has remained satisfactory. Preliminary data indicate that all performance criteria (PCs) under the program for end-June 2014 were met. There has also been further progress with structural reform.The authorities have requested additional IMF financial assistance to meet urgent fiscal and balance of payments needs not anticipated at the time of the recent program review. Such assistance cannot be provided in the form of an augmentation of access under the ECF arrangement at this time since a review associated with the most recent availability date has not yet been completed because of delays in program implementation associated with the 2013 parliamentary elections. The authorities have requested a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) because the urgent balance of payments need is characterized by a financing gap that, if not addressed, would result in an immediate and severe economic disruption. Moreover, Guinea�s balance of payments difficulties are caused primarily by a sudden exogenous shock and not by a withdrawal of financial support by donors, and its balance of payments need is expected to be resolved within one year with no major policy adjustments being necessary. As such polices remain guided by the objectives of the ECF-supported program.Staff supports the authorities� request for a disbursement under the RCF of25 percent of quota (SDR 26.775 million). It also supports the authorities� request for a modification of the end-September indicative targets and end-December 2014 PCs underthe ECF arrangement, including program adjustors.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

KEY ISSUESBackground. The Ebola outbreak that started in one district in late May has spread to theentire country, overwhelming already weak institutions and ill-equipped medical facilities. At end-August, over 1000 people were infected and more than a third had died from the disease. The country�s social and economic fabric is also adversely affected by the epidemic. Economic growth has slowed, inflationary pressures have intensified, and new balance of payments and fiscal financing needs have emerged. The epidemic has heightened food insecurity and impacted livelihoods for a large portion of the population, generating additional distress for vulnerable groups.The program. In October 21, 2013, the Executive Board approved a three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Sierra Leone totaling SDR 62.2 million (60 percent of quota). The first review under the program was completed on June 19, 2014. Preliminary indications are that performance under the program is on track, in spite of weaknesses in budget execution at end-June.The authorities� requests. In the attached letter of intent, the Sierra Leone authorities are requesting an Ad Hoc review under the ECF arrangement, and an augmentation of access in an amount equivalent to 25 percent of quota (SDR 25.925 million), in a single disbursement. These resources, together with contributions from other donors will help cover balance of payments and budgetary financing needs generated by the Ebola epidemic. The authorities are also requesting a modification of end-December 2014 performance criteria on net domestic bank credit to the central government, and on net domestic assets of the central bank.Safeguard assessment. A safeguards assessment of the Bank of Sierra Leone (BoSL) was completed in March 2014. The BoSL is taking steps to strengthen its safeguards framework and staff is monitoring implementation of the recommendations from the assessment.Staff views. Staff supports the completion of the Ad Hoc review, and the authorities�requests.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARYGuinea is suffering from an outbreak of Ebola, which has become a humanitarian crisis with a significant economic impact. Preliminary estimates suggest a negative impact on 2014 growth, which will be markedly lower. Government revenue is showing a substantial shortfall and the response to the Ebola outbreak entails additional critical spending needs. The exchange rate has started to depreciate. The authorities intend to adopt a tighter monetary policy to address the transitory balance of payments shock.Performance under the ECF-supported program has remained satisfactory. Preliminary data indicate that all performance criteria (PCs) under the program for end-June 2014 were met. There has also been further progress with structural reform.The authorities have requested additional IMF financial assistance to meet urgent fiscal and balance of payments needs not anticipated at the time of the recent program review. Such assistance cannot be provided in the form of an augmentation of access under the ECF arrangement at this time since a review associated with the most recent availability date has not yet been completed because of delays in program implementation associated with the 2013 parliamentary elections. The authorities have requested a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) because the urgent balance of payments need is characterized by a financing gap that, if not addressed, would result in an immediate and severe economic disruption. Moreover, Guinea�s balance of payments difficulties are caused primarily by a sudden exogenous shock and not by a withdrawal of financial support by donors, and its balance of payments need is expected to be resolved within one year with no major policy adjustments being necessary. As such polices remain guided by the objectives of the ECF-supported program.Staff supports the authorities� request for a disbursement under the RCF of25 percent of quota (SDR 26.775 million). It also supports the authorities� request for a modification of the end-September indicative targets and end-December 2014 PCs underthe ECF arrangement, including program adjustors.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

This paper discusses Liberia’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Debt Relief Under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief (CCR) Trust. Economic activity has declined significantly, and fiscal and external financing needs are more pronounced than envisaged at the time of the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) augmentation. The authorities remain committed to the broad objectives of the ECF program. The IMF staff recommends approval of the authorities’ requests for a disbursement under the RCF and debt relief under the CCR Trust given the extensive economic damage caused by the Ebola outbreak and based on the authorities’ updated policy intentions and commitments.

International Monetary Fund. African Dept.

KEY ISSUESBackground. The Ebola outbreak that started in one district in late May has spread to theentire country, overwhelming already weak institutions and ill-equipped medical facilities. At end-August, over 1000 people were infected and more than a third had died from the disease. The country�s social and economic fabric is also adversely affected by the epidemic. Economic growth has slowed, inflationary pressures have intensified, and new balance of payments and fiscal financing needs have emerged. The epidemic has heightened food insecurity and impacted livelihoods for a large portion of the population, generating additional distress for vulnerable groups.The program. In October 21, 2013, the Executive Board approved a three-year arrangement under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF) for Sierra Leone totaling SDR 62.2 million (60 percent of quota). The first review under the program was completed on June 19, 2014. Preliminary indications are that performance under the program is on track, in spite of weaknesses in budget execution at end-June.The authorities� requests. In the attached letter of intent, the Sierra Leone authorities are requesting an Ad Hoc review under the ECF arrangement, and an augmentation of access in an amount equivalent to 25 percent of quota (SDR 25.925 million), in a single disbursement. These resources, together with contributions from other donors will help cover balance of payments and budgetary financing needs generated by the Ebola epidemic. The authorities are also requesting a modification of end-December 2014 performance criteria on net domestic bank credit to the central government, and on net domestic assets of the central bank.Safeguard assessment. A safeguards assessment of the Bank of Sierra Leone (BoSL) was completed in March 2014. The BoSL is taking steps to strengthen its safeguards framework and staff is monitoring implementation of the recommendations from the assessment.Staff views. Staff supports the completion of the Ad Hoc review, and the authorities�requests.