Impact of the recent Ebola epidemic with pandemic potential on the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and other West African countries

Dramé, Mohamed Lamine, Paulo Ferrinho, MR Martins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


West Africa experienced its first Ebola epidemic in 2014. Its magnitude in terms of morbidity and mortality was greater than any other epidemic. It has particularly affected Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Its impact, beyond the high mortality, is also economic. The Ebola virus disease spread to several other African countries with limited resources, causing a significant financial burden to their health systems but also impacting the entire economy of the countries. The objective of this essay is to reflect on the consequences of the Ebola virus epidemics on West African economies in the short term. Estimates of the economic burden of the epidemic range from $2.8 billion to $32.6 billion in lost gross domestic product. The sectors affected by the economic crisis are the most important of the contaminated countries, namely agriculture, mining and trade. There has been a halt in socio-economic activities in the most affected regions. The decrease in the number of workers affected by the virus, the exodus to the least affected areas, and the repatriation of government employees have contributed to the decrease in the income of individuals and states. The fear of contamination by foreign countries has reduced imports, but also all tourist activities, which in turn have had an impact on the restaurant and hotel sectors. All these financial and food disruptions have exposed the population of these countries to food insecurity. The analysis of the impact of the Ebola virus on West African economies in the short term was as devastating as the health impact. This impact has directly contributed to a decrease in economic growth not only for the affected countries but also for all West African countries that depend on these same resources. A loss of about US$32.6 billion over two years in the West African region has been estimated, which is equivalent to 3.3% of the regional gross domestic product (GDP) in the absence of Ebola in 2014.
Original languageEnglish
Article number228
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalPan African Medical Journal
Publication statusPublished - 16 Dec 2021


  • Ebola
  • pandemic
  • socio-economic impacts
  • West African countries


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