LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it would contribute 50 million dollars to a new IMF fund to help West African countries hit by Ebola to service their debts so they can use their own money to help save lives.
The IMF’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust was launched last week and is designed to help Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone cope with their debt service payments to the IMF for the next two years.
The idea is that they can redirect other resources to help fight the outbreak, and to repair their economies and societies. Britain is the first country to pledge cash to the new fund.
"Along with the human tragedy, the virus continues to have a devastating impact on the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone," British finance minister George Osborne said in a statement.
"So I am delighted to provide $50m of critical resources to enable these countries spend less money servicing their debt and more on the public health interventions that will help save lives.”
Reporting by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Stephen Powell