Following an appeal to the international community to start planning recovery efforts for Ebola-affected West Africa, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim outlined during his visit to Liberia an 18-month strategy to support economic recovery in the one of the hardest-hit countries by the epidemic.
Speaking to reporters in Monrovia after meeting Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Kim announced a five-pronged strategy that will focus on bolstering Liberia’s agriculture sector, urban infrastructure and local entrepreneurship in an effort to spark an economic turnaround.
“Agriculture is a key pillar of the Liberian economy and we are concerned that agricultural production has dropped as a result of the Ebola epidemic,” he said, according to a World Bank statement. “We will help Liberian farmers recover from this crisis. We must make sure that the Ebola epidemic is not followed by a food security crisis.”
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Kim underscored that improving access to electricity and building roads and bridges that connect farmers to markets are both essential for economic competitiveness.
“The epidemic has stalled some of our existing infrastructure projects. We are working to bring the private sector back,” he said.
In an effort to strengthen local entrepreneurs, farmers, and small and medium enterprises, Kim vowed to work with the International Finance Corp. — the bank’s private sector lending arm — to offer liquidity to local banks and announced that IFC Executive Vice President Jin Yong Cai will soon sign a $7.5 million loan to Ecobank, a regional commercial bank that operates in 36 African countries.
Also on Tuesday, the World Bank released its Ebola Economic Impact Update showing how the epidemic is continuing to harm the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.
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