What are the political, economic, social and security implications of the Ebola crisis, with a particular focus on Sierra Leone?
Political impact and implications: Initial analysis suggests that
governments' poor management of the Ebola crisis has generated
frustrations and exposed citizens’ lack of trust in their
governments. The Ebola crisis is likely to play a very political
role in the next election in Sierra Leone and there are predictions
that the opposition will win as a result.
Economic impact and implications: The economic impact of the
Ebola crisis includes loss of gross domestic output, threat to food
security, fall in employment and livelihoods, and decline in foreign
investment. Growth has slowed in Sierra Leone and is likely to fall
even further. Household income has fallen, financial reserves are
being used up and large numbers of people are now food insecure.
Some businesses are benefiting from the local procurement by the
international Ebola response.
Social impact and implications: Progress in human development is
likely to be reversed due to the impact of the Ebola crisis on
health, education and standard of living. Quarantines have had a
disproportionate impact on the elderly, the poor, and people with
chronic illness or disability. Those affected by Ebola or working to
combat it (such as healthcare workers and burial teams) face
stigmatisation. Social cohesion is also being weakened by ‘do not
touch’ policies. Women and children are particularly affected by the
crisis. Almost 2 million children have not been attending school in
Sierra Leone due to school closures, which means loss of education
and increased risks of drop-out, teen pregnancy and child labour.
Health systems have collapsed and non-Ebola related mortality is
Security impact and implications: Ebola poses a threat to the
safety of the countries affected by the current outbreak. There have
already been riots and tensions are rising. The diversion of
development spending, especially for roads, energy, building schools
and hospitals, to the Ebola response, could have a negative impact
on peace dividends.
Rohwerder, B. Impact and implications of the Ebola crisis (GSDRC Helpdesk Research Report 1177). Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK (2014) 10 pp.