Assessing the Socio-economic impact of Ebola in West Africa

24 Dec 2014

This synthesis report is based on three national studies on the evolution of the Ebola epidemic and its impact on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It builds on a series of Policy Notes issued by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak, and will inform another study by the United Nations Development Group for West and Central Africa on the socio-economic impact of Ebola in West Africa as a whole.

Using computable general equilibrium (CGE) models, this report provides a more comprehensive assessment of the socio-economic impact of the epidemic and offers a more solid base to plan for recovery and medium term development efforts.

The epidemic is disrupting the development progress achieved since the restoration of peace and democracy in the three most-affected countries. As of 10 December, almost 18,000 people had been infected and more than 6,400 had already died. Health services in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone were not well equipped to fight the disease and the crisis is now completely outstripping their ability to stem its spread.

in the midst of the crisis, we must not lose sight of these countries’ desperate need to re-set development, but on a more sustainable path. Evidence from this study shows that an increase in quality spending in health and development projects is a critical path to recovery. Governments and donors are understandably eager to devote as many resources as possible to containing the epidemic. But attention must still be given to how these economies can best recover and again achieve improvements in human welfare, once the disease has been contained.

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