Ebola May Reduce Affected Area’s GDP, Dangote Says

The Ebola outbreak in parts of western Africa may reduce the affected area’s gross domestic product by as much as 1 percent, said Aliko Dangote, president of Dangote Group.

Dangote, who is Africa’s richest man, called the viral disease for which there is no known cure “worrisome.”

“It will be a great impact, it might be 1 percent of GDP,” Dangote said in an interview with Bloomberg Television on the sidelines of the U.S.-Africa Business Forum in Washington today.

The latest outbreak of Ebola has sickened more than 1,600 people in parts of western Africa, killing more than 880, according to the World Health Organization. Most of the cases are in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Dangote Group, one of the continent’s largest conglomerates, is based in Nigeria, which is located about 1,400 kilometers (870 miles) from Liberia.

“It’s not a new thing today,” Dangote said. The panic that the virus has spurred has pushed Ebola “to the attention of the Western world and I’m sure we will find a cure for it soon,” he said.

Nigeria confirmed the country’s second case of Ebola yesterday in a doctor who treated a Liberian man who died of the virus last month in the commercial capital, Lagos.

West African exports may be at risk because of the Ebola outbreak, according to Robert Besseling, an analyst with IHS Country Risk.

“Mineral exports, including iron ore and diamonds, are increasingly likely to face disruption if mining companies place local workers on leave” as the outbreak disrupts travel and imports of perishable cargo into Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, Besseling said in an e-mailed note.

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