Potential spread of Ebola across West Africa likely to impact business operations, travel and personal security
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Potential spread of Ebola across West Africa likely to impact business operations, travel and personal security






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Potential spread of Ebola across West Africa likely to impact business operations, travel and personal security Potential spread of Ebola across West Africa likely to impact business operations, travel and personal security Document Transcript

  • Potential spread of Ebola across West Africa likely to impact business operations, travel, and personal security By Murtala Touray, Senior Analyst Sub-Saharan Africa at IHS Country Risk The spread of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) and measures to contain it threaten severe disruption to business travel and operations affecting multiple sectors, including tourism, large-scale agribusiness, mining, and cargo transportation across West Africa. The risk of civil disorder is also substantial. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on 8 August 2014 that EVD is "an international emergency". Declaring EVD as an international emergency is likely to increase health insurance premium for business travelers into worst-hit countries in particular and into West Africa in general. Moreover, it is almost certain to raise the operational cost for medical screenings at airports. The WHO global response alert on EVD, issued on 8 August 2014, reported that between 5 and 6 August 2014, some 68 new cases had been identified. So far since the outbreak began, 1,779 cases of EVD have been identified (new, confirmed, probable, and suspected) in Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, and Sierra Leone, of which 961 produced fatalities. However, Professor Chris Witty, chief scientist of the UK's Department for International Development (DfID), has suggested that EVD rates have peaked in Guinea and could begin to decline despite the discovery of new cases. Experts have also ruled out the potential for EVD to spread globally. Beyond the occasional traveller to the region, the difficult transmission of EVD through body fluid means the risk of a wider global pandemic is remote. Where cases are identified in countries with robust healthcare facilities, patients are likely to be isolated quickly in facilities that are well-equipped to treat EVD patients. In addition, corpse-to-living
  • transmission – currently the most common form of transmission – remains a smaller risk in cultures with limited interaction between families and victims. On the back of the WHO announcement, the Nigerian government has declared a national emergency after a second victim (and the first Nigerian national) died from the disease. Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea have inadequate resources and expertise to contain the spread of EVD and deal with the fallout. Though the Nigerian government has allocated over USD11 million to tackling the outbreak, the country's healthcare facilities and lack of personnel will be unable to cope with an increased number of cases. The state authorities in Lagos acknowledged the acute shortage of health personnel to deal with a large-scale outbreak and launched on 9 August an appeal for healthcare volunteers. Without international support, there is a high risk that the current situation will further deteriorate, raising the risk of a regional pandemic in West Africa. Travel and imports of perishable cargo into Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia face high risk of protracted disruption, especially at large international ports such as Monrovia, Freetown, and Conakry as flights are suspended. On 6 August British Airways suspended its flights to Sierra Leone and Liberia, becoming the second international airline after Emirates to suspend operations to these countries. Regional carriers Arik Air and Asky Airlines have also suspended flights. Chad has banned all flights from Nigeria while Mauritania has closed its borders with Mali as a precautionary. Several other African countries, including Angola, Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique, and Senegal, have also put in place screening measures. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia reportedly cancelled over 7,000 visas for prospective pilgrims from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia after the Ebola outbreak in the region. Some mining companies, including Tawana Resources, Caterpillar, Canadian Overseas, Aureus Mining in Liberia, and African Minerals and London Mining in Sierra Leone, have ordered the evacuation of non-essential personnel. In Liberia, contractors working on ArcelorMittal's Phase 2 expansion project have stopped work and declared
  • force majeure. Nonetheless, the majority of mines, ports, and rail operations are operational at a reduced scale in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Reports of the further spread of the disease raise the risk of a suspension of mining and other business operations, and the potential declaration of more force majeure. Other major airlines serving Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, including Royal Air Maroc, Brussels Airlines, and Air France, appear likely to suspend operations. However, the risk of forced abandonment is low as host governments are very unlikely to demand that Western investors leave these regions as a precautionary measure, even if the death tolls and geographical spread of EVD continue. Danny Cheung Asia Pacific Director Corporate Communications 8 Marina View #12-01 | Asia Square Tower 1 | Singapore Phone: +65 6439 6192 | Mobile: +65 9171 3200 Danny.Cheung@ihs.com This email message is for the sole use of the intended recipient(s) and may contain confidential and privileged information. Any unauthorized review, use, disclosure or distribution is prohibited. If you are not the intended recipient, please contact the sender by reply e-mail and destroy all copies of the original message. Thank you.  Please consider the environment before printing this e-mail.