How Ebola is Hurting African Economies
DAKAR, Senegal — Airlines have canceled their flights to the countries most affected. Prices of staple goods are going up, and food supplies are dwindling. Border posts are being closed, foreign 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 West African nations already at the bottom of global economic and social indicators. Aggravating both the financial and social consequences, these countries and their frightened neighbors are imposing 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 and barring their airlines from flying to those countries. Senegal has even refused to allow humanitarian flights with urgently needed supplies and medical personnel to take off from Dakar, the West African hub for international aid agencies. South Africa and Kenya, two of the continent’s economic heavyweights, have restricted entry to people coming from the Ebola zone.