Some may have heard various reports throughout the world of the Ebola virus beginning to spread. While there have been a few suspected cases in various areas, countries in Africa are now beginning to close their borders to prevent any more of an outbreak. In fact, South Africa is refusing to admit any person from the infected areas of West Africa.
The most concerning countries as of right now are Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. The borders of these countries are currently closed to all non-citizens, to the point that all non-essential traveling has been halted until further notice. With this lack of travel, the economy is beginning to notice, particularly in these countries.
Death Count Rising
As of right now, Ebola deaths have been confirmed in Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. While the African Union is planning on sending teams to help solve these outbreaks, it also means that receiving any work or labor from these four countries is now next to impossible. In fact, the economy in Sierra Leone itself has been reduced by nearly 30% since the first confirmed case of the virus. And it is not as if it was doing well before this infectious situation began to manifest itself.
The Issue with Food
The majority of those affected in Sierra Leone, approximately two thirds actually, are farmers. Considering this, that means that several farms have quickly become abandoned by people who have either become affected by the virus, or fear contracting the virus themselves. When no one is farming, the food is left to grow and then rot rather than be properly cultivated. Without farmers, there is no food to sell to the stores, which hurts the country financially and medically. Sadly, this is occurring in all of the countries most notably affected by the Ebola virus, specifically Sierra Leone and Liberia.
Liberia is Hurting
The country with the highest number of Ebola cases which has ever been seen, Liberia, has placed several areas under strict quarantine. While some would think this would slowly solve the problem and have little impact on the economy, quite the opposite is true. For example, one heavily populated area that is currently under quarantine is almost devoid of people and commerce now. Now, it is not much more than a wasteland because all the shops have closed and no one is allowed to cross the fence.
The African Economy Looks Bleak
The economy in Africa as a whole is quickly beginning to deteriorate. Although many countries were expected to see an increase in economic activity at the beginning of this year, the effect of this virus has caused analysts to rework their original numbers for many African countries. With the closing of borders, various quarantines, and farmers and miners scared of contracting Ebola, some of these economies are stagnant and even others are in steep decline. Revenue coming from outside the borders has dried up as well because nothing can get in or out.
If this outbreak is not tackled and confined, the African economy will continue to suffer and the people living in Africa will have little to smile for.