Via The New York Times: The Other Ebola Toll: African Economies. Excerpt:
DAKAR, Senegal — Airlines have canceled their flights to the most Ebola-affected countries. Prices of staple goods are going up, and food supplies are dwindling. Border posts are being closed, expatriate workers are going home and national growth rates are projected to plummet.
Ebola — the reality and the hysteria over it — is having a serious economic impact on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, three nations already at the bottom of global economic and social indicators. Aggravating both the financial and social consequences, these countries and their frightened African neighbors are enacting concentric circles of quarantines, cutting off neighborhoods, regions and even whole nations.
International medical authorities have warned against such practices, arguing that they will worsen suffering and deprivation, and do little to stop the spread of the disease.
But many African nations have gone ahead anyway, sealing borders, barring entry to residents of the affected countries, stopping their national carriers from flying to them, and even, in the case of Senegal, refusing to allow humanitarian flights with urgently needed supplies and medical personnel. That decision has infuriated aid agencies here in their West African hub. South Africa and Kenya, two of the continent’s economic heavyweights, have restricted entry to people coming from the Ebola zone.
For the worst-hit countries, “isolating and stigmatizing them and making it difficult to transport supplies, personnel and other resources” can only make things worse, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Africa, Luis Gomes Sambo, said at a meeting in Ghana last week.
For three nations that have only recently emerged from decades of war and political upheaval, Ebola has dealt a hard blow.
“After a decade of conflict we were set to restore the economy to its prewar status,” Amara Konneh, Liberia’s finance minister, said in an interview. “This outbreak is dealing a serious blow to all of our efforts. This is the biggest crisis we have faced since the end of our civil war.”