May 5, 2016 / 12:38 AM / 3 years ago

Guinea seeks rebound from Ebola with double-digit growth by 2020

A member of the French Red Cross disinfects the area around a motionless person suspected of carrying the Ebola virus as a crowd gathers in Forecariah January 30, 2015. 5. REUTERS/Misha Hussain

CONAKRY (Reuters) - Guinea is targeting double-digit GDP growth by 2020 as it seeks to rebound after the Ebola virus slowed investment and hurt the mining sector, Prime Minister Mamady Youla said on Wednesday.

The country was one of three West African states at the center of the outbreak, with more than 2,500 people in Guinea dying of Ebola in 2014 and 2015. Guinea was declared Ebola free in December but at least five people have since died of the disease.

“Ebola has not only killed people, it has also killed businesses and jobs”, Youla said in a speech. Growth fell to 0.6 percent in 2015 from 3.9 percent in 2012. He gave no projection for this year’s GDP growth.

“We have restored major macroeconomic balance, (but) Ebola has hampered investment, slowed growth and affected several sectors,” he said.

The Simandou iron ore project, worth an estimated $21 billion, would be crucial in reaching the 2020 goal, he said. A senior official in the Mines Ministry said it would take time before the project could proceed because of a drop in commodity prices.

Rio Tinto (RIO.L) said in February it would seek financing for its Simandou project, despite writing down its value because of low commodity prices and funding uncertainties.

Reporting by Saliou Samb; Writing by Marine Pennetier; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Peter Cooney

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