AFRICA

Go slow on external borrowing, UN body warns African countries

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By EA Trade Reporter and Agencies

The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has warned African countries to reduce external borrowing to avoid debt crisis similar to what was witnessed two decades ago.

 


The UNCTAD Economic Development in Africa Report 2016 finds that Africa’s external debt ratios appear manageable, but warns that African Governments must take action to prevent rapid debt growth from becoming a crisis, as experienced in the late 1980s and 1990s.

“Borrowing can be an important part of improving the lives of African citizens,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi says.

“But we must find a balance between the present and the future, because debt is dangerous when unsustainable.”

According to the report, at least $600 billion will be needed each year to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa, subtitled Debt Dynamics and Development Finance in Africa.

 

World Banks warns of economic crisis in Ebola hit West African States

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By Fridah Nkibugah

The World Bank has warned that the three West African states worst affected by Ebola virus could plunge into an economic crisis if the epidemic is no contained.

An analysis of the Ebola epidemic by the bank released Wednesday finds that if the virus continues to surge in the three worst affected countries – Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the economic impact could grow eight-fold, dealing a potentially catastrophic blow to the already fragile states.

However, the analysis finds that economic costs can be limited if swift national and international responses succeed in containing the epidemic and mitigating “aversion behavior” – a fear factor resulting from peoples’ concerns about contagion, which is fueling the economic impact.

 

Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone get $105 million grant to fight deadly Ebola

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By EA Trade Review Reporter

The World Bank Group has approved a $105 million grant to finance Ebola-containment efforts underway in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

According to the bank, the funds will help families and communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and rebuild and strengthen essential public health systems in the three worst-affected countries to guard against future disease outbreaks.

The new grant is part of the $200 million Ebola emergency mobilization first announced by the WBG in early August.

The WBG said that its new Ebola Emergency Response project will mobilize $52 million for Liberia, the country with the highest number of Ebola infections, $28 million for Sierra Leone, and $25 million for Guinea.

 

World Bank pledges $200 million to fight Ebola in West Africa

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By EA Trade Review Reporter

The World Bank Group has pledged as much as US $200 million in emergency funding to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone contain the spread of Ebola infections.

The bank said with the latest death toll from the West Africa Ebola epidemic now at 887 there is need help their communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and improve public health systems throughout West Africa.

World Bank Group President Dr Jim Yong Kim, a medical doctor experienced in treatment of infectious diseases, said the new financing commitment was in response to a call from both the three African countries hardest-hit by Ebola and the World Health Organization (WHO) for immediate assistance to contain the outbreak.

He said the bank would also step up social safety net assistance for affected communities and families and help to build up public health systems in West Africa to strengthen the region’s disease control capacity more generally.

Kim said he would brief the Bank Group’s Board of Executive Directors as soon as possible on the latest state of the epidemic and seek their approval for the new emergency package.

 

WB urges developing countries to speed up reforms as it lowers growth projections

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By Agencies

 

Developing countries are headed for a year of disappointing growth as global economic activity fails to pick-up as expected.

According to the World Bank’s Global Economic Prospects (GEP) report, released Wednesday, first quarter weakness in 2014 has delayed an expected pick-up in economic activity,

Bad weather in the US, the crisis in Ukraine, rebalancing in China, political strife in several middle-income economies, slow progress on structural reform, and capacity constraints are all contributing to a third straight year of sub five per cent growth for the developing countries as a whole.

Growth rates in the developing world remain far too modest to create the kind of jobs we need to improve the lives of the poorest 40 percent,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim.

Clearly, countries need to move faster and invest more in domestic structural reforms to get broad-based economic growth to levels needed to end extreme poverty in our generation.”

 

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