A lot is been read these day about Ebola and its devastating impacts in African countries. It reached many countries of Africa, especially Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Gabon, South Sudan, Ivory Coast, Uganda, Republic of the Congo (ROC), Guinea and Liberia. The deadly virus has even hampered the economic and business conditions in the entire continent. Many potential industrial sectors like oil and minerals, hospitality, transportation and tourism got severely affected due the health hazards.
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Negative impacts of the outbreak and the fear factor moving out of control
Economy blockade: Flight restrictions by many countries in Middle East, Saudi Arabia and many parts of Africa, has affected tourism and hospitality at great extent. Moreover, with such suspensions trading, import-export and agriculture supply went down considerably. Industries that struggled with the direct impact were Aviation, Tourism, hospitality, logistics and transportation. High price shocks in agriculture had degrading effects on the living standards of common man. Short term fiscal impacts are shocking at $93 million for Liberia (4.7 percent of GDP); $79 million for Sierra Leone (1.8 percent of GDP); and $120 million for Guinea (1.8 percent of GDP).
Business downturn: Commercial difficulties in terms of market slowdown or lockouts have weakened the business conditions in affected countries. Giant corporations having their mines, infrastructure projects and business operations in Liberia, Simandou and Sierra Leone went through lot of disruptions. This has significantly stuck the mobility of minerals across the world economies affecting businesses of these companies. Many companies that had their operations in Africa are taking protective measure and closing down the non-essential operations.
Recruitment: A number of mining firms evacuated foreign staff while and global giants with operations in affected countries postponed their recruitment plans. Ebola affected countries have even imposed a ban on recruitment. On the other hand, even labor mobility and availability has been impacted, as candidates from different parts are restricting themselves from taking up jobs in these nations resulting in increased number of back outs. Additionally, many countries from Middle East are taking up strict medical checks as a crucial part of their hiring process and are ensuring that each new recruit undergoes a stringent health check process.
Expatriates: Even though the disease has not reached many regions, but some countries have started witnessing loss of expatriates. Expatriate community is facing the fear of the deadly virus and some of them have even opted to go back to their home countries. This resulted in great loss of skilled manpower in Africa.
Some Positive moves:
To combat this virus and its negative consequences, it is important to understand the virus and stay alert to prevent it from spreading. There are many firms that are confident and are efficiently combating the negatives of the virus. They have not chosen to shut down operations, in fact they are running their business as usual, and are following strict medical checks to protect their employees from getting infected. Moreover big corporations have even donated funds and resources to these countries that could help citizens in getting some relief.
Fighting the fear factor – it’s time to fix the adverse effects.
It is now a global call for the nations dealing with Africa that they come forward with a helping hand for the affected countries. The fear factor that has grown out of control needs to be pulled under control by spreading awareness. Moreover, MNC with operations in these nations should collaborate with Health Association and implement best health measures in their companies to safeguard their staff. Putting restriction should not be considered as the only response to such a crisis as this is hitting really hard on economy. People must take up initiatives in spreading more and more awareness about the virus, so that economies of unaffected regions do not go through such disruptions. Social media would play a dominant role in educating the world population and it should be used wisely to combat the negative consequences. Though the devastating virus is under control and medical agencies are working hard to nullify the negative effect, it is high time now to bring the operations to normal and build strategies to bring back the developments on track.