World Bank warns of ‘catastrophic’ Ebola economic impact

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa could have a catastrophic effect on the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the World Bank has warned.

The BBC reports the organisation says the impact on the economy could grow “eight-fold” from its current level in the already fragile West African states.

The World Bank adds the cost of the epidemic can be limited if the outbreak is contained by a rapid global response.

The UN Security Council is set to hold an emergency meeting today to discuss the Ebola outbreak.

A World Bank report said billions of dollars could be drained from West African countries by the end of next year if the virus continued to spread.

The report says Liberia’s economy would be hardest-hit, losing 11.7 percentage points off its growth next year.

Under the worst-case scenario, the bank predicted that economic growth next year could be reduced by 2.3 percentage points in Guinea and 8.9 percentage points in Sierra Leone.

World Bank group president Jim Yong Kim says: “The primary cost of this tragic outbreak is in human lives and suffering, which has already been terribly difficult to bear.

“But our findings make clear that the sooner we get an adequate containment response and decrease the level of fear and uncertainty, the faster we can blunt Ebola’s economic impact.”