Fear and the economy in Ebola-stricken West Africa

Oct 21, 2014

Some real life perspective on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was brought to light at Daemen College Monday night.

Dr. Joseph Sankoh’s phone is flooded with calls and messages from family and friends in his home country of Sierra Leone. The professor of African Affairs at Daemen College says the concerns people have in the U.S. over Ebola are nothing compared to the fear people face daily in Guinea, Liberia, and his native land.

He says nobody truly understands Ebola and where it comes from. As children are being orphaned, not even their extended families will take them in, out of fear of being infected. With few options and little to no support from their governments, he speaks of a bleak future in West Africa.

"A generation of youth with no jobs, education and future. It's all so messed up because of Ebola. Even before Ebola, there weren't enough jobs to go around," said Sankoh

Dr. Joseph Sankoh, Professor of African Affairs at Daemen College, leads a panel discussion on the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
Credit Avery Schneider / WBFO News

Sankoh says Ebola has added to the poverty of these nations which are already amongst the poorest of the poor. Before Ebola, the region already had limited transportation, inadequate communication networks, and issues with overpopulation. Now, millions of dollars are lost each day as investors leave, tourism disappears, and schools close.

Sankoh says Africans need to take responsibility for their economies and infrastructure.  But he also says billions of dollars are needed, and the question is who will invest?