World Economy

W. Africa May Lose $3.6b Annually From 2014-17 Due to Ebola

W. Africa May Lose $3.6b Annually From 2014-17 Due to EbolaW. Africa May Lose $3.6b Annually From 2014-17 Due to Ebola

West Africa may lose an average of at least $3.6 billion per year between 2014 and 2017 as a result of the Ebola crisis in the region, a United Nations report has said.

According to the United Nations Development Group (UNDG) report, the downturn is due to a decrease in trade, closing of borders, flight cancellations and reduced Foreign Direct Investment and tourism activity, fuelled by the Ebola stigma, AllAfrica reported Tuesday.

West African nations that experienced low or zero incidence of Ebola have already been affected by the Ebola crisis because of their deep connections with the three most affected countries, said the report released in New York recently.

“The consequences of Ebola are vast,” said Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, the Director of UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa. “Stigma, risk aversion and shutting down of borders have caused considerable amounts of damage, affecting economies and communities in a large number of countries across the sub-region”.

The report said Ebola has also had an important impact on human development as the region’s per capita income is expected to fall by $18.00 per year between 2015 and 2017.

“In Cote d’Ivoire, the poverty rate has risen by at least 0.5 percentage points because of Ebola, while in Senegal the proportion of people living below the national poverty line could increase by up to 1.8 percent in 2014. In addition, food insecurity in countries such as Mali, and Guinea-Bissau is expected to increase,” the report indicated.

The report calls for increased involvement of West African governments and regional institutions to stop the epidemic and help the affected countries to recover.

In addition, the report says, preventing future outbreaks must involve a combination of regional and national interventions that include strengthening health sectors, immediate creation of a regional Center for Disease Control and Prevention, coordinated border control and setting up of early warning and disaster management systems.

The document also calls for an integrated recovery package, which includes re-opening borders, creating effective social safety nets for affected and vulnerable populations.