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Thursday, 4 September 2014

Ebola and growth prospects

A fascinating comment in Business Week on the potential of the ebola virus on the West African region :

"Sierra Leone’s prospects were bright before the worst-ever outbreak of the virus. The economy was expected to grow 14 percent this year, almost three times faster than the average for sub-Saharan Africa. In neighboring Liberia and Guinea, rich iron-ore deposits were luring billions of dollars in foreign investment and fueling growth. Then, in December, the first case of Ebola appeared in Guinea. Its emergence at first was seen as a short-term outbreak with limited economic impact. The disease now threatens to cripple three economies with a combined gross domestic product of about $13 billion. Commodity companies are slowing production, and airlines are shutting routes. In Liberia, the government says the epidemic threatens to derail progress made since the end of the civil war in 2003. Sierra Leone has canceled its first sale of bonds open to foreigners"
Things have a way of falling apart in Africa. If it is not wars then its nature. Given the regional turbulence in West Africa Ebola is the last thing the region needed. One can only hope that the region's government have sufficient fiscal space to boost demand post Ebola.


  1. Things have a way of falling apart in Africa.

    And in Greece. And Iceland. And the American Midwest. And Russia.

    In fact, there is a tendency for 'things to fall apart' where ever neoliberal economic theories are applied. Free trade, deregulation, and in this case especially, privatisation.

    Guess what, with falling away of state funded healthcare services, 'the market' did not magically step in and take the state's place in providing healthcare to people who can't afford it. Who could have predicted that - everyone who has ever seen any healthcare privatisation program applied in any country in the world.

    Why is it easier to magically blame 'Africa' for things falling apart, and not the highly destructive economic policies that have come out of the IMF/World Bank, that benefit no one except the families who own the shares of the banks and hedgefunds that own the transnational corporations? And which in my opinion are intended to destroy (I think they call it 'creative destruction') all our economies, to remould them into the image of a one world economy, open to transnational corporations only.

    Why is there no one other than President Mugabe who has had the guts to say no to the IMF/World Bank, and their murderous Economic Structural Adjustment Program?

    That is the question. How can we get away from neoliberal economic policies, without being declared pariahs by 'investors'?

    And Ebola - notice that the usual suspects, like Laurie Garrett of the David Rockefeller chaired Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) blames illiteracy, or 'they're living in the Middle Ages', and never addresses the elephant in the room?

    The truth is that Sierra Leone's healthcare system has been extensively privatised.

    Also, if the public debate was at all honest, why is the source of the Ebola outbreak not considered as the biowarfare lab in Monrovia, run by Tulane University and Fort Detrick?

    Racism is a very profitable cover against corporate liability - it always has been. The first 'racial theories' came from the plantations of Jamaica, in the 17th century, to justify race based slavery.


    According to the BBC, "the largely privatised healthcare system is beyond most people's means". (Ignore the BBC's obsession with 'witch doctors'.)

    Healthcare and water being priced out of reach of most of the population would be kind of relevant to know, when we are talking about a health scare like this Ebola outbreak, wouldn't it? And yet, no one on the planet is talking about the effect of privatisation of the healthcare and water systems and unavailability of service delivery in Sierra Leone, as a cause or even contributing factor to the size of the outbreak.


    On water privatisation in Sierra Leone, from PANOS:

    But the UK-based campaigning organisation, the World Development Movement (WDM) claims the poor will not benefit. It has strongly opposed water privatisation in Sierra Leone, and opposes the British government's decision to award a £2.6 million contract in Sierra Leone to Price Waterhouse, accusing the consultancy firm of being biased towards privatisation.

  2. Continued 1...


    According to the World Bank:

    Ongoing privatisation programme

    A chief draw for foreign investors is the government’s privatisation programme through which Sierra Leone aims to attract investors which will bring in signifi- cant capital and technical skills. Sixteen public enterprises across a wide range of sectors are on schedule to undergo major restructuring and be privatised. These companies are Sierra Leone Housing Corporation, Sierra Leone Produce Marketing Board, Mining and General Services, Sierra Leone Road Transport Corporation, Sierra Leone Telecommunications (SIERRATEL), Sierra Leone Airport Authority, National Power Authority, Sierra Leone Ports Authority, Guma Valley Water Company, Sierra Leone National Shipping Company, National Insurance Company, Sierra Leone State Lottery, Sierra Leone Commercial Bank, Sierra Leone Roads Authority, and Rokel Commercial Bank. The National Commission for Privatisation can provide additional information.


    Why are we supposed to be surprised that the destruction of the healthcare system by the World Bank would exacerbate the scale of any outbreaks of contagious diseases?

    However, there are even more sinister forces at work.


    Using the ebola crisis as an opportunity, farmaceutical corporations are pushing through pills and vaccines that have been shown to have negative side effects.

    (NYTIMES) Second Drug Is Allowed for Treatment of Ebola

    The drug, being developed by Tekmira Pharmaceuticals of British Columbia, was in the initial phase of human testing, which is on healthy volunteers, when the F.D.A. last month halted the trial because side effects were observed. Tekmira announced that the F.D.A., while still saying the drug, called TKM-Ebola, should not be given to healthy volunteers, was now allowing its use to treat patients actually infected with the virus.


    Then, there is the fact that because of market inaction - there is no commercial market for a disease that has killed only 3000 people since 1976 - Ebola research is conducted by the biowarfare community.

    (NEW SCIENTIST) US bioterror fears are driving Ebola drug development
    * 14 July 2014 by Curtis Abraham
    * Magazine issue 2977. Subscribe and save

    So what hope of a medical advance soon? Ironically, the key driver for drug development is US interest in infectious diseases because of their potential use as bioweapons.

  3. Continued 3...

    (GLOBALRESEARCH) West Africa: What are US Biological Warfare Researchers Doing in the Ebola Zone?
    By Jon Rappoport
    Global Research, August 02, 2014
    Region: sub-Saharan Africa
    Theme: Biotechnology and GMO, Militarization and WMD, Science and Medicine

    " This is a call for an immediate, thorough, and independent investigation of Tulane University researchers (see here and here) and their Fort Detrick associates in the US biowarfare research community, who have been operating in West Africa during the past several years. "


    From Tulane University:

    (TULANE) “New Test Moves Forward to Detect Bioterrorism Threats.”

    “The initial round of clinical testing has been completed for the first diagnostic test kits that will aid in bioterrorism defense against a deadly viral disease. Tulane University researchers are collaborating in the project.

    “Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at Tulane University, is principal investigator in a federally funded study to develop new tests for viral hemorrhagic fevers.

    “Corgenix Medical Corp., a worldwide developer and marketer of diagnostic test kits, announced that the first test kits for detection of hemorrhagic fever have competed initial clinical testing in West Africa.

    “Clinical reports from the studies in Sierra Leone continue to show amazing results,” says Robert Garry, professor of microbiology and immunology at the Tulane University School of Medicine and principal investigator of the grant.

    “We believe this remarkable collaboration will result in detection products that will truly have a meaningful impact on the healthcare in West Africa, but will also fill a badly needed gap in the bioterrorism defense.


    So as usual, most of the story is not getting old in the now corporate owned media, or state owned media like the BBC. No one has the guts to question the basic economic beliefs that are keeping ordinary people around the world down, for the benefit of the very richest people on the planet.


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