Ebola: Global isolation may raise economic impact to $32.6bn

President of the World Bank Group, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, Thursday, warned that global community’s continued isolation of the three West African states battling Ebola  could raise its cost on the economy of the entire sub-region to a record $32.6 billion.

Kim, who spoke at a press briefing in Washington, said the current policy of isolation and economic blockade of the Ebola-hit countries would cost the world more than putting in place measures that would help them overcome the economic and social consequences of the scourge.

He said it was imperative that health facilities in those countries be urgently rehabilitated while mobilising qualified medical personnel to stabilise the crisis.

According to him, the public health imperative was to stop Ebola from spreading while the human imperative was to help those affected to get the necessary treatment on time.

The World Bank chief stated: “I’ve just come out of a high level meeting on the Ebola crisis response. We heard from the presidents of the three affected countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the challenges that each of them face. We had a very productive discussion related to the response especially with the emergency needs but we also discussed the importance of building back the health system of the three countries after the Ebola outbreak is contained.”

He stated that the stakeholders have gained much more understanding of the economic damage from the outbreak making the World Bank to release a new economic impact assessment with the message that if the epidemic is not quickly contained and is allowed to spread to neighbouring countries, its two-year economic impact could reach $32.6 billion mark by the end of 2015, warning that that could be catastrophic for people throughout the West African region.

While acknowledging the response of the international community in assisting the embattled states, Kim said the response has been behind the curve as much more is needed to be done to stamp out the plague. He advocated the training of more health workers given that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has hinted that Liberia alone requires additional 360 foreign medical personnel to treat those already infected by the disease.

Meanwhile, the World Bank yesterday also launched a $1 trillion Global Infrastructure Facility (GIF) aimed at mobilising the private sector to help tackle the massive infrastructure deficit currently facing developing countries and emerging markets.

The bank estimates that the infrastructure needs of the countries would reach about $1 trillion annually in extra investment through 2020.

The GIF is a collaborative approach among private sector especially institutional investors, donor nations, multilateral development banks and the World Bank Group to help unlock billions of dollars for infrastructure in developing and emerging markets.

Source : SunOnline

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