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Ebola May Trim 2 Points Off GDP Growth of Liberia, Teneo Says

Sierra Leone's International Airport
A mother and child walk past a poster about the Ebola virus at Sierra Leone's International Airport in Freetown, on August 12, 2014. Photographer: Carl de Souza/AFP via Getty Images

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea may reduce ecomomic growth by as much 2 percentage points in those countries, Teneo Intelligence said.

About half a percentage point to 2 percentage points may be shaved off from the pace of growth of the three countries, the New York-based consultancy said in an e-mailed note today. While no mines have closed, a shutdown would mean a further slowdown in growth, Teneo said.

“These states are already significantly aid-dependent,” the New York-based consultant said in an e-mailed note. “The continued spread of the virus could possibly lead to a close down of operations” by mining companies, Teneo said.

The outbreak has disrupted businesses across the three countries, from farmers who have abandoned fields in Sierra Leone and ArcelorMittal in Liberia, which said it will postpone expansion plans. The viral disease has killed more than 1,000 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, and 3 people in Nigeria.

The economic impact in Nigeria is limited, though it may become more significant if the disease spreads outside the group of people currently being monitored, Teneo said. Sierra Leone’s economy will probably expand 14 percent this year, according to the International Monetary Fund. Guinea is set to expand about 4.5 percent, while the gross domestic products of Nigeria and Liberia will probably rise about 7 percent, according to the Washington-based fund.

ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker, said Ebola has disrupted expansion of its iron ore mine in Liberia, while mining companies in Sierra Leone including London Mining Plc and African Minerals Ltd., have seen their share prices slump on potential disruption of operations there.

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