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Report

The Economic Impact of Ebola: Monitoring the Impact of Potential Transport Disruptions on Traders, Food Availability, and Market Prices

2014 — By International Growth Centre

Uncertainty about the exchange rate, restrictions on shipping routes, reduced activity by informal traders fearing infection from Ebola and the cordon imposed around Kenema and Kailahun has the potential to interrupt the trade of basic commodities across the country. We therefore collected data on food availability, prices, and number of traders in 153 markets throughout Sierra Leone (with the exception of Western Area Urban) in the week of 19-27 August 2014. Note that these are prices in the markets only. Many communities rely on traders taking the food to villages and therefore these prices do not necessarily equal the prices that households would pay in locations without markets. We conducted a second round of market surveys and included questions on petrol prices, the closure of markets, and food prices in Freetown markets during 11-16 September, 2014. This round was conducted before the shutdown between September 19th and 21st. Anecdotal evidence suggests that
prices may have changed a lot after September 21st. We are therefore conducting a third round of the pricing survey, starting on September 30th and will report on that as soon as the data is available.