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28/08/2014

Why Ebola is staining the Africa rising narrative.

There are two sides to the Africa story. There is one where there is disease, war, and poverty, and then there is a second one where African economies are growing, lifting millions out of poverty and generally fueling the African rising narrative. The second aspect is what many now refer to as the Africa rising narrative. Now, the emergence of Ebola firmly fits into the the first aspect, of Africa that is afflicted by disease. As Ebola is spreading, it dampens out the Africa rising narrative, and puts the continent on a perpetual emergency mode.

Picture that the Ebola menace has cut about 30 percent of Sierra Leone's GDP. This is much the same GDP that was lost when Sierra Leone was plagued by a civil war in the early to mid 2000s. Flights have been cut to Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. Even African countries are imposing travel restrictions on citizens of countries affected by Ebola. South Africa has banned entry of persons from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and
Guinea into the country. Kenya's national carrier, Kenya Airways, suspended flights to the three most affected countries until the Ebola menace is eradicated. These essentially means that these countries have been cut off from the rest of the world.
In Liberia, the school calendar was disrupted, as the schools closed. In these countries, various zones were quarantined, meaning that much economic activity could not take place. This has the effect of curtailing trade, business, and investment, in the countries affected, and intra-Africa trade. Moreover, investors who had plans to invest in Africa are scaling back plans, as all the Continent gets lumped together in this crisis. You then begin to see a situation that is slowly clawing back all the gains made in Africa in the past decade, and putting a huge stain on the Africa rising narrative. 

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