While the Ebola epidemic shows its first signs of slowing and confidence grows about stopping the outbreak and reaching the target of zero new cases, a new World Bank Group report on economic impacts of the disease says its effects will continue to cripple the economies of hard-hit Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
“As welcome as these latest signs are, we cannot afford to be complacent,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group. “Until we have zero new Ebola cases, the risk of continued severe economicUntil we have zero new Ebola cases, the risk of continued severe economic impact to the three countries and beyond remains unacceptably high. impact to the three countries and beyond remains unacceptably high.”
Despite transmission rates in the three worst-affected countries showing significant signs of slowing, the Bank expects around $1.6 billion of lost economic growth to be recorded in those States over the course of 2015, according to its report – The Economic Impact of Ebola on Sub-Saharan Africa: Updated Estimates for 2015 – released today ahead of the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos.
The report describes a four per cent fall over 2014 in the 11.3 per cent growth rate projected for Sierra Leone before the crisis. Guinea and Liberia are also expected to see large reductions, with the total fiscal impact for the three countries in 2014 topping $500 million, about five per cent of their combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
With investors steering clear, growth estimates for 2015 have also been revised down, the report notes. Guinea and Sierra Leone are expected to see their economies contract – by 0.2 per cent and two percent respectively – while predicted growth for Liberia has been reduced to three percent. Pre-Ebola growth estimates for 2015 in Guinea were 4.3 per cent; in Sierra Leone were 8.9 per cent; and in Liberia were 6.8 per cent.
SOURCE: AFRICA RENEWAL