World View: West Africa at Significant Economic Risk as Ebola Panic Intensifies
- West Africa at significant economic risk as Ebola panic intensifies
- Ukraine says it partially destroyed Russian military convoy crossing border
West Africa at significant economic risk as Ebola panic intensifies
With travel bans increasing, the Ebola panic is almost reaching the point where West Africa is
being quarantined and cut off from the rest of the world. Airlines are suspending flights to some West African
cities. The Ebola crisis could also create shortages of food, fuel
and other supplies because the nearest big port, Abidjan in Ivory
Coast, has announced a ban on all ships from the Ebola-affected
countries Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea, the three hardest hit
countries. Cross-border markets have been shut down, and several major
mining companies have scaled back their operations or postponed
With estimates of more than 1,060 deaths and 1,975 infected, the Ebola
outbreak in West Africa is already the deadliest ever. The World
Health Organization (WHO) says that the size of the epidemic may be
"vastly underestimated," as there are rumors of entire villages being
wiped out, and some infected people are simply afraid to notify the
authorities of their illness. One health worker was quoted as saying,
"If you have people fly in to your village looking like Martians
[because of the non-contamination suits], and everyone is getting
sick, it's not hard to believe that the Martians are making you sick."
These panicked reactions are not only devastating the economies of
West African countries, they're also making the problem of stabilizing
the Ebola epidemic more difficult. According to the WHO, "WHO is disappointed when airlines stop flying to West
Africa. Hard to save lives if we and other health workers cannot
Nigeria has had eleven cases of Ebola and one death, but panic is
spreading rapidly, particularly in the crowded city of Lagos, where
it's feared that Ebola may be passed from person to person faster than
authorities can stop it. The crisis is exacerbated by a strike by
16,000 of the country's doctors for better working conditions.
Nigeria's president Goodluck Jonathan on Friday fired the doctors for striking during a medical emergency.
Nigeria is already facing severe disruptions because of the Boko Haram
terrorist group. One government official estimates that "3 million
Nigerians are facing 'serious humanitarian challenges' because a
breadwinner has been killed in the turmoil or they are too scared to
plant the crops."
Now the Ebola panic is putting the entire country's economy at risk,
according to the Moody's ratings agency:
If a significant outbreak emerges in the Nigerian
capital of Lagos, the consequences for the West African oil and
gas industry would be considerable. Any material decline in
production would quickly translate into economic and fiscal
Globe and Mail and Sky News and Vice News and Barrons
Ukraine says it partially destroyed Russian military convoy crossing border
As we reported yesterday, a convoy
of Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers crossed the border on
Thursday evening from Russia into Ukraine through a hole in the barbed wire fence
separating the countries. This was seen and
photographed by Moscow correspondents of two London papers, the
Guardian and the Telegraph.
On Friday, Ukraine's president Petro Poroshenko bragged that his
forces had destroyed part of that military convoy. There were several
different Russian responses in different reports:
The Guardian correspondent again visited the site, and found the dirt road to be well-traveled. He also
witnessed at least 50 armored personnel carriers in the region headed
toward toward the border.
- There was no Russian military convoy in Ukraine.
- The Russian military convoy was in Russia, not in Ukraine.
- It was a Ukrainian military convoy, successfully attacked by
pro-Russia separatist militias in Ukraine.
- Ukraine's government is making the claim because it wants
to escalate the crisis.
- The whole report was "some kind of fantasy."
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters that
Russia made an "incursion" into Ukraine and that NATO sees a
continuous flow of Russian weapons into the country.
An interesting interpretation was heard by an analyst from Teneo
Intelligence that I heard quoted on CNBC:
The multiple crossings at Izvarino [border crossing]
in daylight and within sight of the international press suggest
that they wanted to be seen, most likely to test the reaction of
the international community. ... The Russian separatists control
several border crossings with no media presence. These could have
used by military vehicles instead.
The implication is that Russia wanted the military convoy to be seen
and attacked, possibly to provide an excuse for a Russian invasion.
The truth is that nobody knows what the Russians are planning, but the
increasing military activity near the Ukrainian border is causing many
to believe that, with the pro-Russian separatists close to losing to
the Ukrainian army, the Russians will take some military action
to protect them.
Meanwhile, Russia's 280-truck "humanitarian convoy" remains parked
near the Ukrainian border, and anything is possible this weekend.
Guardian (London) and Bloomberg and VOA
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, West Africa, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea,
Ivory Cost, Nigeria, World Health Organization, WHO,
Russia, Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, Anders Fogh Rasmussen,
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