Ebola crisis batters Liberia economy: Minister

Ebola crisis batters Liberia economy: Minister

Wed Oct 1, 2014 3:23PM GMT

Liberia’s minister of commerce and industry says the Ebola crisis is taking a severe toll on the economy of the country, which has been struggling to recover from a 14-year civil war.

“I’ve been privileged to see a country rise from the rubble of war to peace, to a nation where we see our children going to school…. Ebola has interrupted that severely,” said Liberian Minister of Commerce Axel Addy during a meeting in Geneva on Tuesday.

The commerce minister said ever since the Ebola crisis arrived in the country in March, economic conditions have worsened, particularly as commodity prices are falling.

“The road ahead is not very clear, as our entire development agenda is at risk…. All that we’ve achieved is at risk, should this epidemic continue,” added Addy.

Liberia’s revenues have come under massive strain from the cost of fighting the Ebola virus.

Food prices have been affected by the epidemic, the commerce minister said, including the cost of imported rice, which has been a staple product for millions of Liberians.

“Farmers’ ability to harvest their crops and get it to market has been a challenge…. Transportation services have been hit dramatically, so commerce has been challenging and has also triggered price increases of some key essentials,” Addy noted.

Liberia has been the hardest hit following the Ebola outbreak, with latest UN figures saying 1,830 people have died and 3,458 infected from the killer virus in the country so far.

The Ebola virus has killed more than 3,000 people in west Africa alone.

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