The Guardian
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African economy to suffer ‘marginally’ from Ebola


AFRICA’S economy is likely to suffer only a minor blow from the Ebola outbreak despite the “considerable” impact on Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, a UN official said Monday.

“From the start, the ECA was confident that the alarmist projections were wrong,” said Carlos Lopez, the executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa.

“We could not visualise more than a marginal impact on the region’s performance, given that the three most affected countries account for less than one percent of Africa’s combined GDP,” he said, adding that the “suffering experienced by Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone is considerable.”

“Africa’s growth forecast is still higher than in any other continent,” said Lopez, who was speaking to top African diplomats ahead of an African Union summit on Friday and Saturday.

However he said conflict, insecurity and terror threats, together with a fall in oil and raw material prices, were weighing on the continent.

“Their impact on the continent’s economic performances stretches from missed opportunities to contagious risk perceptions that are much more serious than those surrounding the Ebola outbreak,” he said of the impact of conflict and terrorism — notably attacks by Boko Haram in Nigeria, and fighting in Somalia, South Sudan and Central African Republic.

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