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

Myanmar Fighting Poses Dilemma for China

To gain some insight into conflict, VOA’s Steve Herman spoke with Min Zaw Oo, director of ceasefire negotiation and implementation at Myanmar Peace Center More

Australia Concerned Over Islamic State 'Brides'

Canberra believes there are between 30 and 40 Australian women who have taken part in terror attacks or are supporting the Islamic State terror network More

Recreational Marijuana Use Now Legal in Washington, DC

Law allows adults 21 and over to privately possess and smoke 0.05 kilogram of pot, and to grow small amounts of the plant More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.8836
JPY
USD
118.88
GBP
USD
0.6451
CAD
USD
1.2469
INR
USD
61.751

Rates may not be current.