The international community is being called upon to cancel the debts of the countries affected by the Ebola virus.
The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), who is also a UN Under-Secretary made the call at the launch of a report on the socio-economic impacts of Ebola on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Dr. Lopes argued that debt cancellation would allow the affected countries to start from a clean slate.
“We have life with Ebola; and in the aftermath of these, debt cancellation would allow the countries to start from a clean slate from a macroeconomic dimension,” he said.
According to him, this would be essential, given all they are going through right now in relation to all the deviations of public expenditure that were provoked by the response needs.
He also contends that the size of the three economies is so small, “the impact would be reduced to 0.05% percent in terms of overall GDP on the continent.”
Sounding a warning, Dr. Lopes said “the impact on perception can be much higher than the real GDP as it affects a number of decisions related to investment, tourism and travel,”
The report titled the “Socio-Economic Impacts of the Ebola Virus Disease on Africa”, raises the alarm on the risk of a rise in mortality of diseases not related to Ebola, as well as the wider impacts of the virus on the livelihoods of those affected.
It notes that educational systems, rising social stigma, unemployment, and decreased food security are some of the big issues that Ebola-affected countries must deal with.
The report also explores the impact of the 13,241 cases identified and 4,950 deaths reported in the region since the outbreak earlier this year.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi