BRIEF

Summary on the Ebola Recovery Plan: Sierra Leone

April 16, 2015



Impact of the Ebola crisis

The Plan discusses the socioeconomic impact of the disease, starting with the number of infection cases (to date more than 8,000), and deaths (3,100 - of which 221 are medical personnel). Schools have been closed for a significant period of time and there has been a 23 percent decrease in health service delivery and a significant reduction in the provision of water and sanitation services. The EVD has increased levels of poverty and vulnerability, especially among women, children and the youth.

The Plan measures the impact of EVD in economic terms: SL was on a trajectory of sustainable development with real GDP growth of 15.2 and 20.2 percent in 2012 and 2013, with improved macroeconomic stability, and progress in poverty reduction. The poverty headcount dropped from 70 percent in 2003 to 52 percent just before the EVD outbreak. The epidemic, along with the sharp decline in commodity prices, has reversed many of these trends. The GDP growth rate for 2014 has been revised from 11.3 percent in early 2014, to 6 percent (0.5 percent excluding iron ore). For 2015, GDP growth rates have been revised down to -13 percent and -2 percent excluding iron ore. Inflation rates increased modestly over the second half of 2014 while the exchange rate depreciated by around 15 percent and the trade balance deteriorated by 30 percent. The Government’s fiscal deficit doubled to 3.8 percent of GDP (compared with 2013), reflecting higher current spending and decline in revenues. The fiscal position is expected to further deteriorate in 2015. Revenue lost to the disease is estimated at about Le350 billion (US$74 million). There has been a significant decline in agricultural output, while the private sector has lost the 50 percent of its workforce. Commerce has been particularly affected and cross-border trade has come to a standstill. Air transport remains severely constrained.

The Overall Objectives of the Plan

The overarching objectives of the Plan are to eradicate Ebola, restore basic socio-economic services across the country, and lift economic growth rates. The Plan will focus on three sequential steps (i) getting to and maintaining zero EVD cases, (ii) implementing immediate recovery priorities, including restore health services, reopen schools, ensure food security, expand water and sanitation participating in the economy, and (iii) transitioning back into the Agenda for Prosperity Plan, which remains the defining document for the overall development of the country.

Main Pillars of the Plan

The Plan is organized around two main pillars including: A) Immediate Recovery Strategies that would help in (i) Getting and Maintaining Zero Infections; (ii) Managing and Mitigating the Immediate Ebola Impact in the Social Sector including healthcare, water and sanitation, education, gender, children and social protection, and labor and youth employment; (iii) Restoring Economic Growth and Output, which focuses on actions to re-launch economic activities, stimulate state revenue generation and restore viable public investments, including agriculture, fisheries, tourism and air transport, trade and private sector development, road development, energy services, mining operations, domestic revenue mobilization, and financial services. , infrastructures (roads) and financial services; and (iv) Strategies To Strengthen Governance, Justice And Security. B) A pillar on Building National Systems for Resilience and Sustainable Development, which includes building a resilient health system; community development; trust in public institutions and peacebuilding; establishment of integrated national security and disaster risk management system; strengthening implementation of public sector reforms; strengthening aid effectiveness; restoring trust in the private (and informal) sector; dealing with inequalities; exploring regional opportunities; and strengthening economic and financial policy management; and in other areas of governance and coordination of public policies. Immediate priorities of the Plan are to (i) restore health services and build a robust health care system that is resilient and strengthened to ward off emergencies and recurring tropical diseases, (ii) reopen educational facilities and attendant services, (iii) enhance food security initiatives, (iv) expand provision of water, sanitation and hygiene services, (v) support increased private sector participation in the economy, (vi) expand the coverage of social protection services to extremely poor, disabled and vulnerable members of society, and (vii) close the fiscal financing gap.

Financing

The Plan cost to getting to and maintaining zero (Pillar A) is estimated at US$219 million covering FY2015-16. The preliminary cost of the immediate/short term recovery programs is estimated at US$625 million for the same period. Hence, the total cost of the Plan is of US$ 844 million. The recovery strategy will be implemented within the existing budget and medium term expenditure frameworks.