05.01.2016

It is necessary to make distinctions between the national economy and rural income sources, between urban and rural areas, and between those areas affected directly by the virus with a high infection rate and those mainly affected by the mitigating measures.

The economy: The Ebola crisis caused an estimated 13 per cent loss in GDP for 2015. Entrepreneurs paused operations, investment decisions were postponed, and many foreign investors, aid workers and elite Sierra Leoneans left the country. Sierra Leone’s exceptional economic growth rates in recent years has been largely driven by export of minerals, a sector dominated by foreign companies, and the investor flight caused a severe drop in GDP. However, the mineral sector is highly mechanised and generates only limited jobs, and sector revenues are not always experienced as direct benefits for the rural population. But the local agriculture markets and farming activities were disrupted, and widespread market insecurity was affecting the main trading centres in the country.