Effects on Individual Countries
Ebola already is having a significant impact on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The countries with the highest number of Ebola cases have seen more than 3,400 deaths, and disruptions to their farming, tourism, manufacturing and mining industries. Liberia, with the highest rates of infection, could see a contraction of 5.2% in its 2015 GDP in the High Ebola case, leaving the country more than $100 million poorer than it would have been.
Across West Africa, the Ebola epidemic is having some ripple effects.
The emergence of Ebola in Nigeria has led to fewer customers for shops and commercial businesses. The government has spent significant resources to successfully contain the disease and, like Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal, the country has placed some travel restrictions on its citizens.
- Cote d’Ivoire
So far, no cases of Ebola have been reported in Cote d’Ivoire, but the government has closed its borders with Liberia and Guinea and is imposing health checks on all visitors.
- Guinea Bissau
The economic effects on Guinea Bissau, where no cases have yet been reported, are likely to be low, the report says, as a result the country’s limited trade with its regional neighbors. With support from the World Bank Group, the government has launched a community awareness campaign aimed at preventing Ebola within its borders. Estimates for Guinea-Bissau’s growth remain unchanged at 3%.
Although Senegal did report one case of Ebola, the patient was successfully treated and the economic impact on the country has been minimal. But, the impact of Ebola on tourism could lead to a 1% drop in GDP annually. According to the report, several conferences have already been cancelled and incoming flights are carrying fewer passengers.
Since the onset of Ebola in West Africa, estimates show that 65% of hotel reservations in Gambia have been already been canceled. If the crisis persists, the report says, Gambia could see deferrals or cancelations of foreign direct investment to its tourism and hospitality sectors.
According to the report, if the Ebola epidemic is contained by the end of 2014, the economic impacts on West Africa, including on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, could be lessened and economies would begin to recover and catch up quickly. If the crisis continues into 2015 as predicted, slower growth could cost the region $32.6 billion over 2014 and 2015 and lead to much higher levels of poverty.
The report calls for:
- Governments and their international partners to lay the groundwork for policies that will contain the epidemic and allay the fears of economic agents
- Increased injections of external financial support to help governments to continue to function as growth resumes
- Reestablishing investor trust so that as the epidemic is contained, domestic and international investment can return
- Continuing to invest in effective and resilient African health systems – including epidemiological surveillance – after the Ebola outbreak has been contained.
Without these measures, as the report notes, “in addition to the immeasurable costs of lives lost, the loss of income in High Ebola could take years to recover”.
The impacts of Ebola on West Africa will be discussed on Thursday, October 9th from 7:30 to 9:00 ET at a high level event featuring the presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. The discussion will be streamed live at http://live.worldbank.org/impact-of-ebola-crisis