World Band Forecasts US$25bn Economic Losses For West Africa

A World Bank Group economic report from October 8, 2014 has revealed that the West Africa region alone could experience a downside scenario of US$25 billion in economic losses in 2015.
The report made specific mention on the economic impact and stressed that the Ebola epidemic will also continue to cripple the economies of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone even as transmission rates in the three countries show significant signs of slowing.
According to a World Bank Group analysis, the current report estimates the range for sub-Saharan Africa as a whole to be from a low of US$500 million to a high of US$6.2 billion.
The national and international responses have resulted in a number of public health improvements within the three West African nations, including safer burial practices, earlier case detections, more health workers and treatment facilities, public awareness campaigns and stepped-up contact tracing.
These policy and behavior responses have contributed to a lower risk of spread across borders. The lower estimates also reflect fast and effective containment measures taken in the neighboring countries of Mali, Nigeria and Senegal, all of which have now been declared Ebola-free.
“Even if Ebola is controlled and further outbreaks avoided,” said the report, “economic costs will be incurred across sub-Saharan Africa in 2015. Consumer and investor confidence has been eroded by the outbreak of the virus, and disruptions to travel and cross-border trade.”
“I am very encouraged to see Ebola transmission rates slowing markedly in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and that other potential outbreaks have been averted because of swift action by other West African governments,” said Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group.
The report indicated that Kim will discuss the emerging lessons from the Ebola crisis with world leaders in Davos this week.
One major lesson from the Ebola outbreak, said Kim, was for the world to respond much more quickly to epidemics.

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