Economic cost of Ebola still rising

The Ebola outbreak in West African countries of Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia not only killed thousands of people but also infected scores of others with the virus. Daily life in those counties came to a virtual halt. The devastation is now being shown in economies of the affected countries. Total economic costs for those three countries for last 12 months are expected to exceed $13 billion.

Iron-ore mining in the region were hard hit by the spread of Ebola. The industry not only brought in millions of dollars of foreign investment, it provides employment to many people. But most of the operations were closed due to Ebola and workers were asked to stay home to stop the spread of the virus. Airlines shut down their operations in many cities within the impacted area. Agricultural productions such as palm oil, cocoa, peanut and rubber production were reduced or temporarily halted. In Liberia, just the cost associated with loss of cement production amounts to one percentage point of its Gross Domestic Production. Shut down of borders between countries not only deployed troops but also disrupted the flow of goods between countries in the region. Public gatherings were banned negatively impacting local retail sales.