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Ebola batters Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone economies — World Bank


WASHINGTON – The World Bank said on Tuesday in Washington, that Ebola outbreak in West Africa was taking a heavy toll on the economies of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
It said as a result of this the countries would face negative or slower growth next year because of the virus.
The bank said growth estimates for the three countries hardest hit by Ebola had tumbled since its previous analysis in October, and that projections showed the outbreak costing them more than 2 billion dollars in lost income over the 2014 to 2015 period.
It said for 2014, gross domestic product growth estimates in Liberia were projected to fall to 2.2 per cent, compared with forecasts of 2.5 per cent in October and 5.9 per cent pre-crisis.
The bank said in Sierra Leone, 2014 growth was now forecast at 4 per cent, down from previous estimates of 8 per cent in October and 11.3 per cent pre-crisis.
It said the outbreak had lowered the 2014 growth forecast for Guinea to 0.5 per cent, compared with 2.4 per cent in October and 4.5 per cent pre-crisis.
“All the three countries had been growing rapidly in recent years and through the first half of 2014,’’ he said.
The bank added that, for 2015, it was projecting negative growth of minus 2.0 per cent in Sierra Leone, down from a 7.7 per cent growth forecast in October and 8.9 per cent before the crisis.
It also forecast negative 2015 growth for Guinea of minus 0.2 per cent versus October’s estimate of 2 per cent growth and a pre-outbreak forecast of 4.3 percent.
“In Liberia, where there are signs of progress in containing the epidemic and some increasing economic activity, the updated 2015 growth estimate is 3.0 per cent, an increase from 1.0 per cent in October, but still less than half the pre-crisis estimate of 6.8 per cent,” the bank said.
Jim Kim, World Bank Group’s President, in his reaction to the report noted that the report reinforced why zero Ebola cases must be a goal.
He said while there are signs of progress, as long as the epidemic continues, the human and economic impact would only grow more devastating.
The World Health Organization said that more than 5,987 people had died of Ebola in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. (Reuters/NAN)

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