Africa > Sierra Leone

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International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Following two emergency Rapid Credit Facility disbursements in June 2020 and March 2021 to assist in addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Sierra Leonean authorities are committed to resuming the program supported by the Extended Credit Facility arrangement. The program is an important policy anchor for the authorities, and its main objectives—revenue mobilization, safeguarding financial stability, and addressing external vulnerabilities—remain valid. While an economic recovery is underway, driven by the mining sector, risks to the outlook are considerable and, the risk of debt distress is high but remains sustainable. This is predicated on the authorities’ ambitious fiscal adjustment and continued reliance on concessional financing and grants. External vulnerabilities are expected to persist over the medium term.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
Sierra Leone continues to grapple with the serious and persistent economic and social effects of the pandemic. Containment measures and trade disruptions in 2020 weakened domestic demand and exports and caused domestic revenues to fall. Moreover, food insecurity has risen from its already-high pre-COVID-19 level. 2021 is set to be another challenging year, with the ‘second wave’ of infections and vaccine-related uncertainties posing further risks to the recovery. As import growth picks up and development partner support returns to pre-2020 levels, Sierra Leone faces urgent external and fiscal financing needs (both around about 2 percent of GDP). Uncertainty about the outlook and larger near-term financing gaps have impeded the immediate resumption of the program under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). The authorities are therefore requesting a disbursement under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) of 17 percent of quota (SDR 35.26 million). This follows the June 2020 RCF (50 percent of quota or SDR 103.7 million) and would bring total access for the past 12-month period to 82 percent of quota (or 5½ percent of GDP), well within the 150 percent of quota annual PRGT access limit. The authorities also received debt relief under the Catastrophe Containment and Response Trust (CCRT) and are participating in the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).
Huy Nguyen and Miss Randa Sab
This study focuses on identifying the main factors that influenced country-specific and aggregate demand for IMF concessional financing between 1986 and 2018 and makes within-period and out-of-period forecasts. We find that the external debt level, inflation, and real effective exchange rate are the main economic variables influencing concessional borrowing for most eligible countries. Finally, our approach is able to provide quite accurate country-level and aggregate forecasts for historical financing events prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
This paper evaluates the IMF’s policy on the use of quantitative limits on public debt in IMF-supported programs (the “debt limits policy”) and proposes a number of modifications. The review is taking place at a time when many countries are experiencing heightened debt vulnerabilities or actual debt distress, aggravated by the COVID-19 shock, and occurring against the backdrop of a changing credit landscape in which concessional finance is scarcer relative to countries’ investment needs.
International Monetary Fund. Strategy, Policy, & and Review Department
This paper evaluates the IMF’s policy on the use of quantitative limits on public debt in IMF-supported programs (the “debt limits policy”) and proposes a number of modifications. The review is taking place at a time when many countries are experiencing heightened debt vulnerabilities or actual debt distress, aggravated by the COVID-19 shock, and occurring against the backdrop of a changing credit landscape in which concessional finance is scarcer relative to countries’ investment needs.
International Monetary Fund. African Dept.
This paper discusses Sierra Leone’s Request for Disbursement Under the Rapid Credit Facility (RCF). The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic puts Sierra Leone’s population at risk and is a serious blow to the economy, which has just started to recover. The number of COVID-19 cases is increasing rapidly, threatening the fragile health system. The drop in external demand and essential measures to contain the spread of the virus are sharply curtailing economic activity. The authorities are taking decisive actions to mitigate the health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic. In collaboration with development partners, they are scaling up urgent health spending and introducing measures, including boosting social safety nets and ensuring access to credit for affected businesses. The shock has generated a large balance of payments need. Emergency financing under the RCF will help meet this financing gap and create room for pandemic-related spending. With significant downside risks and a tight financing situation threatening to reverse Sierra Leone’s progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, additional grant support from the international community is urgently needed.