News / Economy

Reports: Ebola Causing Huge Damage to W. Africa Economies

People hand out foodstuff donated by the U.S at the West Point area that has been hard hit by the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 26, 2014.
People hand out foodstuff donated by the U.S at the West Point area that has been hard hit by the Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, Aug. 26, 2014.
Reuters

Ebola is causing enormous damage to West African economies, draining budgetary resources and slashing economic growth by up to 4 percent as foreign businessmen leave and projects are canceled, the African Development Bank president said.

As transport companies suspend services, cutting off the region, governments and economists have warned that the worst outbreak of the hemorrhagic Ebola fever on record could crush the fragile economic gains made in Sierra Leone and Liberia following a decade of civil war in the 1990s.

Air France, the French network of Air France-KLM said on Wednesday it has suspended its flights to Sierra Leone following advice from the French government. France did not recommend suspending flights to Nigeria and Guinea.

“Revenues are down, foreign exchange levels are down, markets are not functioning, airlines are not coming in, projects are being canceled, business people have left - that is very, very damaging,” African Development Bank (AfDB) chief Donald Kaberuka said in an interview late on Tuesday.

“The numbers I have had vary from one percent to four percent of GDP. That is a lot in a country with a GDP of US$6 billion,” Kaberuka said, when asked to quantify the impact.

Liberia has already said that it would have to lower its 2014 growth forecast, without giving a new one.

Sierra Leone Deputy Minister of Mineral Resources Abdul Ignosis Koroma also told Reuters that the government would miss its target of exporting $200 million in diamonds this year because of the Ebola outbreak, versus $186 million last year.

“There is no way the government can reach this amount since the districts where diamonds are mined are not Ebola-free, especially the main diamondiferous region Kono,” Koroma said.  Miners, he added, are too afraid to go to alluvial diamonds pits in the country's Ebola-stricken east.

Diamond trade had also been stopped by tough border controls to curb the spread of the virus, he said.

The AfDB this week donated $60 million towards essential supplies to help train medical workers and purchase supplies to fight the outbreak, which has already killed more than 1,400 people, mostly in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The disease also has a toehold in Africa's most populous country Nigeria, where it has killed five people, but authorities there say the outbreak has been contained. Only one out of 13 confirmed cases is still being treated in isolation in the commercial capital Lagos.

Congo outbreak traced to pregnant woman

Kaberuka described the health care systems of the affected countries as “overloaded”. He said he hoped the donation would stop money being diverted away from other programs such as the education and agriculture, thereby reducing the long-term damage from the outbreak.

“We need to begin now to plan what could happen next when Ebola is beaten,” he said.

Echoing comments from regional governments, Kaberuka said that travel and trade restrictions imposed by airlines, shipping firms and neighboring economies was increasing the economic hardship of the affected countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has repeatedly said it does not recommend travel restrictions on the affected countries due to Ebola. “I understand the countries which are posing restrictions...but let us but let us only do so based on medical evidence and not on political imperatives,” said Kaberuka.

Democratic Republic of Congo announced on Sunday it had detected a separate outbreak of Ebola in its remote northwestern province of Equateur that had killed at least 13 people. It was Congo's seventh outbreak since the highly contagious disease - believed to be carried by bush animals - was first detected there in 1976.

The WHO said on Wednesday that it was awaiting test results on samples of hemorrhagic fever from Congo sent to laboratories, but the outbreak appeared to be unrelated to the West African outbreak. The first case appeared to be a pregnant woman in the village of Ikanamongo who died on August 11 after butchering a bush animal, the WHO said.

It said it had assembled a rapid response team and was ready to assist Congo if needed.    

You May Like

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

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
0.8954
JPY
USD
119.75
GBP
USD
0.6515
CAD
USD
1.2518
INR
USD
61.921

Rates may not be current.