IMF approves $6.9 mln disbursement to S.Leone


The International Monetary Fund approved a $6.9 million loan disbursement to Sierra Leone and said economic prospects in the West African nation were “favorable” given increased revenues from iron ore production this year.

The latest IMF tranche was granted under a three-year $45.4 million loan approved by the IMF in 2010 as it rebuilds from a 1991-2002 civil war.

It has long depended on minerals exports to fill state coffers, with diamonds traditionally the country’s top revenue earner, Reuters reports.

The country holds some of the world’s richest iron ore deposits, but the industry ground to a halt during the war. With the country now exporting iron ore, the IMF has forecast that new mineral revenues could boost growth by a staggering 51.4 percent in 2012.
“Economic growth has been robust and broad-based, reflecting the scaling-up of infrastructure investment and the implementation of projects in mineral sectors,” the IMF said in a statement, also warning that the biggest risk to the outlook was from an “uncertain global environment”.

The IMF said the government had taken corrective measures to address concerns by the Fund about inaccurate data in 2011 on new external debt the government had taken on.