Photographer: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images

Guinea’s Growth of Small Businesses Signal Post-Ebola Recovery

Guinea’s investment agency said the economy showed signs of recovery from the Ebola outbreak with the rapid growth of small businesses in the West African nation.

More than 4,000 small- and medium-sized companies will probably be created this year, according to the private investment promotion agency, known by its French acronym APIP.

“Having registered a dramatic slowing due to Ebola last year, economic activities are starting again,” Gabriel Curtis, director-general of the agency, said in an interview in the capital, Conakry on Aug. 13. “People are beginning to return.”

Guinea’s government has reduced the time to set up a company to 72 hours, from “weeks, even months,” said Curtis, who is a former vice-president for risk and capital management at the Bank of New York Mellon Corp.’s London branch. Investors are showing interest in the services industry, construction, energy and agriculture, he said.

Guinea is among three West African countries hardest hit by the worst-ever outbreak of Ebola. The government needs at least $1.5 billion to repair the damage inflicted by the disease, Finance Minister Mohamed Diare said in June.

More than 2,500 people have died of Ebola in Guinea since the first victim was identified in a densely forested area of the country in late 2013. While the number of new cases has fallen off sharply, a few are still being reported every week.

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