G20 summit: IMF announces €237m for Ebola fight

G20 summit: IMF announces €237m for Ebola fight

The International Monetary Fund has announced €237m package to help fight ebola in west Africa.

The announcement came at the G20 summit in Brisbane in Australia, where British Prime Minister David Cameron has been pushing other world leaders to step up their response to the epidemic.

The IMF package involves a combination of loans, debt relief and grants for Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

Mr Cameron persuaded the summit’s host, Australian PM Tony Abbott, to include the Ebola crisis in the official agenda for the gathering of 20 of the world’s leading powers.

In a statement released at the end of the summit’s first day, the G20 welcomed the IMF initiative and said members were “committed to do what is necessary to ensure the international effort can extinguish the outbreak and address its medium-term economic and humanitarian costs”.

There was no immediate announcement on additional funding from G20 states - some of which have so far contributed little or nothing to the fight against Ebola.

G20 leaders have been discussing proposals to encourage the development of vaccines for Ebola, including a possible fund to indemnify pharmaceutical companies against the risks involved in drug trials and experimental treatments.

Speaking ahead of the IMF’s announcement, Mr Cameron said: “We need more money. Britain was successful at the European Union meeting at getting member states to more than double the amount of money that was going in – getting it up to over €1bn.

“Here, it’s partly about money – those countries that haven’t given as much as, say, Britain has. I was talking to the Japanese prime minister this morning. They are going to be pledging more money. That’s good news.

“But what we also need to see is more health professionals from different countries making their way to west Africa and helping. That can be co-ordinated by countries like Britain.”

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