In Liberia, the government has warned that the Ebola outbreak will badly damage the country’s economy. Many gains made since the end of the civil war in 2003 could be reversed. It has been forced to cut its growth forecasts, and officials fears that food prices will rise as farm workers stay home to avoid infection.
Since the Ebola outbreak nobody’s hanging around anymore, there’s nobody shopping, so store owners don’t see the worth of keeping stores open. Archel Bernard’s sentiment is now a common one among Liberia’s business owners. Mango Rags, her clothes shop, has seen sales drop 90 percent since the Ebola outbreak began in March. She’s made the tough decision to close until the crisis is over.
Bernard hopes she’ll be able to reopen in a few months. It’s a sad blow. Her business is one of many that were starting to thrive in Liberia after years of civil war.
The World Bank is preparing for the economy to plummet. It’s pledged that part of its $200 million emergency funding will go towards supporting the economic future of Ebola stricken nations.
It recognizes that government measures to contain Ebola, like calling prolonged public holidays, will slow down the economy. International investors recognize that too.
But as this epidemic continues, the question remains how much longer normal operations can last. Back in January the Liberian government predicted annual growth of 5.9 percent. That, it says, it no longer a realistic target.
CCTV America’s Katerina Vittozzi reports from Monrovia.
Follow Katerina Vittozzi on Twitter @kvittozzi