Ebola sucks life from W. African states weakened by war, poverty

Wed Aug 6, 2014 10:51am EDT
 
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* Deadly virus ravages nations already among world's poorest

* Impacts seen on GDP growth, trade, transport and mining

* Food inflation a worry as farmworkers flee disease

* Major investors alert, no rush for the exit yet

By Clair MacDougall and Emma Farge

MONROVIA/DAKAR, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Poverty, then war, and now, a deadly plague.

Among the world's poorest states at the bottom of global development indexes, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea had shown signs of leaving behind brutal wars and leaping into Africa's economic boom - before a lethal Ebola epidemic struck.

As the world's biggest outbreak ravages the populations of these small states from West Africa's Mano River Region, their resource-dependent economies are reeling from the impact.

With the death toll more than 900, Ebola is hitting tourism, reducing travel and trade, and slowing farming and mining, delivering body blows to what had been buoyant GDP growth driven by increasing foreign investment, officials said.   Continued...