IMF Staff Completes Review Mission to Sierra Leone

The current account deficit is expected to widen to 21.5 percent of GDP

  • Mission and authorities reached a common understanding of the challenges and risks associated with macroeconomic performance for the rest of 2017 and have made some progress in discussions on how to address those.
  • Discussions aimed at completing the review will continue in the coming weeks, including during the upcoming Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank.
  • Mitigating the impact of floods and mudslides which occurred in Freetown in mid-August and resulted in the death of hundreds of people and displacement of thousands will be a major focus of government policy.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by John Wakeman-Linn visited Freetown during September 15–29, 2017 to conduct the first review under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). [1]

At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Wakeman-Linn issued the following statement:

“Sierra Leone’s economy is estimated to slow down to 5.6 percent in 2017, from 6.3 percent in 2016, mainly on account of reduced activities in the non-mining sector. Inflation rose to 18 percent in August.  The government budget for 2017 will need to address lower than budgeted revenue, and a shortfall in donor receipts. The current account deficit is expected to widen to 21.5 percent of GDP.  Going forward, mitigating the impact of floods and mudslides which occurred in Freetown in mid-August and resulted in the death of hundreds of people and displacement of thousands will be a major focus of government policy.

Progress has been made in discussions on the first review. All but one end-June 2017 quantitative performance criteria were met. The mission and authorities reached a common understanding of the challenges and risks associated with macroeconomic performance in the rest of 2017 and have made some progress in discussions on how to address those challenges. Discussions aimed at completing the review will continue in the coming weeks, including during the upcoming Annual Meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

“The mission met with Governor of BSL Patrick Conteh; senior government and BSL officials, representatives of the financial sector, private sector, civil society, and development partners.

“The IMF mission wishes to express its gratitude to the Sierra Leonean authorities for the constructive discussions and hospitality during its visit to Freetown.”

[1] The ECF is a lending arrangement that provides sustained program engagement over the medium to long term in case of protracted balance of payments problems. The arrangement for Sierra Leone was approved by the IMF Executive Board in June 2017 (see Press Release No. 17/102). 

Source: International Monetary Fund (IMF).

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