Africa: Ebola, Threat to Africa’s Future – World Bank President

Washington, DC — World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has warned that said unless the Ebola epidemic in West Africa is quickly contained, the future of Africa is at stake.

Speaking at a meeting on the Ebola crisis with the presidents of the three affected countries- Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in Washington DC yesterday, Kim said the epidemic had already infected more than 8,033 people, claimed more than 3,879 lives and continues to spread rapidly.

“The Ebola crisis has already had a profound impact on the millions of people in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

People are going hungry and are unable to go to work. At least six million children are unable to go to school, and thousands have been orphaned. Many businesses have shut down, farmers are unable to harvest their crops. Flights are being cancelled, trade has diminished”, he said.

According to Kim, growth projections for 2014 in the three most-affected countries have already been cut significantly. Just yesterday, the World Bank Group released a new economic impact assessment that says if the epidemic is not quickly contained and was to significantly infect people in neighbouring countries, the region would lose $32.6 billion by the end of 2015.

“This is a potentially catastrophic impact”, he said, adding, “Earlier in the week, we had a patient die of Ebola here in America, and now at least one infected nurse in Spain. We are likely to see more cases in more countries. Over the past month, we’ve seen a stepped up global response with support from a number of countries and organizations at this table.”

Kim lamented: ‘We are still way behind the curve, and we have to quickly speed up and scale up the global response to this crisis”.

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