IMF Offers Debt Relief to Ebola-Hit Countries

The International Monetary Fund said Thursday it will provide a total of $100 million in debt relief and another $160 million in low-interest financing for the three West African countries hardest hit by the Ebola crisis, The Wall Street Journal reported. The deadly Ebola epidemic has slammed the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as the health disaster slashed state revenues and crisis costs overwhelmed the governments’ budgets. The fund’s debt relief marks a significant change in its global financing role, establishing a trust specifically for debt relief for the first time in the IMF’s seven-decade history. The new “Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust” is designed to provide grants to cover debt-service payments for the world’s poorest countries. Read more. (Subscription required.)