News / Economy

Ebola Hurts Economies in West Africa

Ebola Hurts Economies in West Africai
X
Jim Randle
August 15, 2014 9:56 PM
The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa is likely to hurt economic growth and government finances in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and perhaps Nigeria, according to a key analyst. As VOA’s Jim Randle reports, prevention efforts are crimping commerce, sports, travel and trade.

The recent Ebola outbreak in West Africa is likely to hurt economic growth and government finances in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and perhaps Nigeria, according to a key analyst. Prevention efforts are crimping commerce, sports, travel and trade.

Ebola sparks fear, and protests demanding stronger and smarter government actions.

It's spread by contact with blood or other body fluids of infected people, which is why it has killed scores of medical workers and forced some hospitals to close.

Moody’s credit rating service says the costs of fighting Ebola will strain national budgets, while the slowdown in commerce will cut tax revenues and could make measurable cuts in each country's annual GDP growth. Experts say this outbreak is hurting the economy more than previous ones in Africa because it is in a more populated area.

Nigerian-born economics professor Benjamin Akande is worried. He is the dean of Webster University’s business school in the United States.

"The economic implications of this Ebola virus are staggering and it’s staggering because it’s on the edge of possibly shutting down the economic lifeline for the affected countries,” said Akande.

Numerous disruptions

Moody’s reports Ebola is likely to disrupt air travel and other critical commercial and transport activities for at least a month.

Some airlines are demanding handwashing and temperature checks for passengers, while others have canceled flights.

Officials have also closed some borders, banned some public gatherings and sports events and told some workers to stay home.

A shopkeeper said the situation is hurting commerce. “Since then the customers are low, you understand?”

A Wesleyan University disease expert said Ebola has killed more than 1,000 people and is likely to kill more. But the human and economic toll from other diseases -- like malaria -- is higher, according to William Johnston.

"Approximately 207 million cases with 627,000 deaths from malaria itself in 2012, tuberculosis, they counted 8.6 million new cases," said Johnston.

Prevention efforts

Dr. Amesh Adalja, an infectious disease expert at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, said competing priorities are one reason there is no effective vaccine or treatment is widely available yet.

“Ebola affects a very small proportion of the population. These outbreaks are sporadic, explosive, and then disappear," said Adalja. "They are controlled using very low-tech measures that are low cost, and each outbreak has been stopped using these low-tech measures up until this one.”

Those low-tech measures include telling potential victims how to avoid infection, providing more protective suits and gloves for health workers, and a dose of soap, water and bleach.  

So far, though, officials have not convinced enough people to use those measures, and the disease is not contained.

You May Like

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8048
JPY
USD
118.04
GBP
USD
0.6382
CAD
USD
1.1270
INR
USD
61.892

Rates may not be current.