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

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

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
0.9211
JPY
USD
119.18
GBP
USD
0.6722
CAD
USD
1.2509
INR
USD
62.518

Rates may not be current.