IMF says coronavirus to hit sub-Saharan Africa's growth hard

WASHINGTON, March 25 (Reuters) - The spread of the coronavirus into sub-Saharan Africa will hit the region’s growth hard, with direct disruptions to people’s livelihoods, tighter financial conditions, reduced trade and investment and a steep drop in commodity prices, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

In a blog posting on the IMF’s website, top officials in the Fund’s Africa Department said they have received requests for emergency financing from over 20 nations in the region and expect at least 10 more soon.

“Across the region, growth will be hit hard. Precisely how hard is still difficult to say. But it is clear that our growth forecast in April’s regional outlook will be significantly lower,” wrote Abebe Aemro Selassie, director of the IMF Africa Department and Karen Ongley, mission chief for Sierra Leone. (Reporting by David Lawder Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)