Opinion Piece Discusses Economic Challenges Of Responding To DRC Ebola Outbreak

Devex: Opinion: It’s time to talk about the Ebola gold rush
Jonathan Shaw, founder and CEO of Kivu Green Energy, and Leslie Ruyle, assistant director of the Scowcroft Institute of International Affairs at the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University

“…[W]hat fails to make headlines is that the international emergency response to Ebola brings with it a massive flood of capital to one of the world’s poorest countries. While the world wrings its hands over the disease, some in the region view Ebola’s arrival in Goma as a moment of divine favor. … While newspaper stories are focusing on how community skepticism, misinformation, and mistrust are hindering the response, the role of money and its unequal distribution may not only be hurting the efforts but may actually be creating perverse economic incentives that are exacerbating the outbreak. … A perverse incentive for disease spread emerges among powerful local business people who are instrumental in managing the response effort. … Who stands to benefit from the Ebola gold rush? Can we afford to be naive about the effects of such funding on affected communities, especially in war-ravaged and poverty-stricken zones? The direst unintended consequences of the international lack of concern around the ‘Ebola Economy’ could well be the exacerbation of the persistence and spread of the disease. Local dynamics, in all their complexity, matter. All the while, Ebola both takes lives and makes fortunes in eastern Congo” (10/10).

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