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Ebola has cost Africa ‘less than expected’

Ebola has cost Africa ‘less than expected’
November 19
22:33 2014

Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) has cost Africa’s economy less than expected, a World Bank chief has said.

Francisco Ferreira, World Bank’s chief economist for Africa, stated on Wednesday that the Ebola epidemic, which broke out in March 2014, has cost the region about $3-$4 billion, as against the $32 billion estimated by the financial institution.

Speaking at a lecture in Johannesburg, Ferreira said the successful containment of Ebola in some West African countries made its worst case scenario forecasts less feasible.

However, he added that the damage could still assume an astronomical scale if the countries relent in their efforts to control the epidemic.

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“The risk of the highest case of economic impact of Ebola has been reduced because of the success of containment in some countries. It has not gone to zero because a great level of preparedness and focus is still needed,” Ferreira said.

“I would say the outlook has moved closer to the lower case of $3-$4 billion, than the upper case ($32 billion).”

He added that the virus has however affected tourism on the continent, with visitors showing less interest in visiting any African country, despite the absence of Ebola virus in these countries, highlighting Kenya and South Africa as the most affected countries.

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In a report published in October, World Bank said the Ebola epidemic might cost the Africa tens of billions in dollars, with the disease spreading out of the West African nations affected, thereby disrupting cross-border trade and tourism.

World Health Organisation figures have it that at least 5,177 people had died to the virus as at November 17, out of 14,413 cases recorded.

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