Via the World Bank, a press release: Ebola: Most African Countries Avoid Major Economic Loss but Impact on Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone Remains Crippling. Excerpt:
The Ebola epidemic will 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 on the economic impact of Ebola in Africa. The Bank Group estimates that these three countries will lose at least US$1.6 billion in forgone economic growth in 2015 as a result of the epidemic.
But the new report -- released on the eve of the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos -- also contains more positive news: the probability of spread and the associated economic costs beyond the three most-affected countries are now much lower than previously feared because of the intensive global and national responses to the epidemic over the past several months.
An earlier World Bank Group economic analysis (from October 8, 2014) found that the West Africa region alone could experience a downside scenario of US$25 billion in economic losses in 2015, but 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 suggest cumulative losses of more than US$500 million across the region in 2015, outside the three directly affected countries.”
The report said the losses could be closer to the higher end of the estimate -- US$6 billion -- if the Ebola outbreak were to spread through the region, reinforcing the need for a swift end to the epidemic.