Ebola to push Guinea, Sierra Leone into recession: World Bank

2014-12-02 08:18
Ebola health worker. (Ben Curtis, AP)

Ebola health worker. (Ben Curtis, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Video

Ebola update: vaccine testing underway

2014-11-28 15:13

Harry Phillips from Health24 joins us in studio to give us the latest stats and facts on the Ebola outbreak. There's more good than bad news this week with the first vaccine trials taking place in North America - and the feedback so far has been positive. Watch. WATCH

Washington - The World Bank said on Tuesday that the fallout from the deadly Ebola pandemic will push Guinea and Sierra Leone into recession next year.

With the disease still not under control in West Africa, the cost to the two countries plus less-impacted Liberia of shuttered businesses and curtailed investment will run "well over" $2bn in 2014-2015, the Bank said in a new report.

Governments in the three countries, where most of the nearly 6 000 deaths from the Ebola outbreak have occurred, have already seen their finances hit to the tune of around $500m this year.

That has forced cutbacks to official spending for investment and services, on top of pullbacks by foreign investors and visitors frightened by the spread of the virus.

"The epidemic is not yet under control. Containment, combined with a full-fledged financial recovery effort to restart business activity and bring back investors, are now both therefore urgently needed for the region to improve on the downbeat forecasts", the Bank said.

The report revised less dire growth forecasts made only in October, when officials optimistically thought the disease could be controlled by the end of the year.

Liberia's economy is now projected to grow only about 2.2% this year, compared to 5.9% projected before the outbreak.

More than half of people surveyed in the county say they are no longer working in their latest job, compared to 40% in October.

But the economy is now likely to bounce back with a 3% expansion next year, according to the report.

"The number of new weekly cases of Ebola in Liberia has recently declined and this may explain some incipient signs of economic recovery.

Ebola impact 'devastating'

Sierra Leone is much harder hit, with transmission of the disease still intense. In the first half of this year the economy grew at a 11.3%  annual pace; in the second half it has contracted at a 2.8% rate.

Averaged out, the country will achieve just 4.0% growth this year, and is expected to shrink 2.0 percent in 2015. Gross domestic product could lose $900m fall next year, the report said.

Food production will fall because planting was curtailed in the June-August period; on top of that, heavy rains in September hit the country's rice crop. Equally devastating has been the plunge in iron ore prices, which has hit the country's main export.

In Guinea, growth slowed from a 4.5% pre-Ebola pace to 0.5% in the second half, and the economy will likely contract 0.2% next year, according to the World Bank.

"Commerce and services have been hit by a sharp drop in international travel and regional trade; agricultural and manufacturing exports to neighbouring countries have come to a standstill", the report said.

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, starting a two-day trip to the affected region on Tuesday, said in a statement that the goal remains to reduce the number of Ebola cases to zero.

"While there are signs of progress, as long as the epidemic continues, the human and economic impact will only grow more devastating."

Read more on:    world bank  |  guinea  |  sierra leone  |  ebola  |  economy  |  west africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.