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Western Africa economies hit by Ebola travel ban

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Published on : Aug 28, 2014

With over 1,400 people dead due to the fatal Ebola outbreak in African countries, travel services have either banned or limited operations to the western region, severely hitting economies of the area. Budgetary resources are being utilized rapidly and economic growth has dropped by 4% as international projects and trips have been cancelled.

Transport companies have cut off the region fearing further spread of the Ebola fever; services have been suspended as people have been warned not to venture into high risk regions in Western Africa such as Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. After advice from the French government, Air France cancelled flights to Sierra Leone. The chief of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka has said the impact of Ebola on the country’s GDP measures up to 1% to 4%, which could be devastating to Sierra Leone’s $6 billion GDP. The diamond industry has also been affected, with the country unlikely to achieve its diamond export target of $200 million in 2014, as against last year’s $186 million. Miners refuse to go to diamond districts fearing the Ebola outbreak.

Liberia, too, has had to reduce its growth forecast for the year. Ivory Coast, which produced nearly 1.45 million tons of cocoa in the previous season, is uncertain of its output forecasts for the year, leaving traders and exporters stranded. A larger fear that looms ahead is that if the disease spreads to cocoa-growing areas, farmers will be forced to leave the western regions of the country.

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