Senegal seeks $221 million from IMF to mitigate coronavirus shock

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JOHANNESBURG – Senegal has wrapped up talks with the International Monetary Fund to secure $221 million to help it mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, the Fund said on Thursday.

The West African nation has reported 175 confirmed cases of the disease, according to World Health Organization statistics. The IMF said in a statement that the pandemic had led to a drop in remittances from Senegalese living abroad and a shutdown of its tourism sector.

“This (financing) will allow the authorities to meet the urgent budgetary and balance of payment needs stemming from the deterioration of the global economic conditions and the spread of COVID-19 in Senegal,” the IMF said in a statement.

Around $147 million of the requested funding would be disbursed from the Fund’s the Rapid Financing Instrument, with the remaining $74 million coming from its Rapid Credit Facility.

The financing still requires the approval of the IMF’s executive board, which is expected to consider the request by mid-April.

Though they currently account for just a fraction of global coronavirus cases, the pandemic has already sent an economic shockwave through many African nations.

The IMF and other multilateral financial institutions are seeking to ramp up support for vulnerable African countries so they can better fight the disease, which experts say could easily overwhelm their under-resourced health systems.

Reporting by Joe Bavier; Editing by Alex Richardson