Tags: Ebola Outbreak | Ebola | economic impact | World Bank Group | fear

Report: Fear of Ebola May Have Global Economic Impact

Image: Report: Fear of Ebola May Have Global Economic Impact
Kenyan health officials help passengers to fill-up medical forms before screening them as they arrive at the Jommo Kenyatta International Airport. (Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 03:19 PM

If the Ebola epidemic were to expand beyond the three worst-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the two-year regional economic impact could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015, according to a new report issued by the World Bank Group.

While the brunt of the financial impact will be felt by the three countries where the disease is most widespread, neighboring nations and the global economy are not immune.

"The international community now must act on the knowledge that weak public health infrastructure, institutions, and systems in many fragile countries are a threat not only to their own citizens but also to their trading partners and the world at large," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement.

In 2013, Sierra Leone and Liberia ranked second and sixth among the top 10 countries with the highest GDP growth in the world, according to the World Bank.

A World Bank report issued in September, however, noted that much like the outbreaks of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and H1N1 influenza, "most of the economic impact is due to the aversion behavior of economic agents."

According to the report, behavioral effects, or the "fear factor," were responsible for as much as 80 percent to 90 percent of the total economic impact of the SARS epidemic of 2002-2004, and the H1N1 flu epidemic of 2009.

"We just released a study looking at the impact of Ebola. What we found was that it almost independent of the number of cases. It's the aversion behavior, the closing of the ports, people not showing up for work," said Kim in a September interview with Al-Jazeera America.

Mead Over, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development, echoes Kim's assertion, saying that any significant economic impact in the United States would not be as a result of the actual disease, rather it would be a consequence of "aversion behavior" caused by fear of Ebola.

"The impact of aversion behavior on the markets is like a speculative bubble, but in reverse," he told ABC News, adding that the impact would diminish once the fear subsided.

In the days following the disclosure that Thomas Eric Duncan had been exposed to Ebola and that he may have come in contact with five Dallas-area students, some parents decided to keep their children at home, reports CBS News.

Dallas schools Superintendent Mike Miles said attendance had declined roughly 10 percent in the schools where the affected students attended.

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If the Ebola epidemic were to expand beyond the three worst-affected countries of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the two-year regional economic impact could reach $32.6 billion by the end of 2015, according to a new report issued by the World Bank Group.
Ebola, economic impact, World Bank Group, fear
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2014-19-08
Wednesday, 08 Oct 2014 03:19 PM
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