A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘sierra leone

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

  • Architectuul looks at some architecturally innovative pools.
  • Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait looks at Wolf 359, a star made famous in Star Trek for the Starfleet battle there against the Borg but also a noteworthy red dwarf star in its own right.
  • Centauri Dreams looks at how the NASA Deep Space Atomic Clock will play a vital role in interplanetary navigation.
  • The Crux considers the “drunken monkey” thesis, the idea that drinking alcohol might have been an evolutionary asset for early hominids.
  • D-Brief reports on what may be the next step for genetic engineering beyond CRISPR.
  • Bruce Dorminey looks at how artificial intelligence may play a key role in searching for threat asteroids.
  • The Island Review shares some poetry from Roseanne Watt, inspired by the Shetlands and using its dialect.
  • Livia Gershon writes at JSTOR Daily about how YouTube, by promising to make work fun, actually also makes fun work in psychologically problematic ways.
  • Marginal Revolution notes how the relatively small Taiwan has become a financial superpower.
  • Janine di Giovanni at the NYR Daily looks back at the 2000 intervention in Sierra Leone. Why did it work?
  • Jamais Cascio at Open the Future looks back at a 2004 futurological exercise, the rather accurate Participatory Panopticon. What did he anticipate correctly? How? What does it suggest for us now to our world?
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes that LightSail 2 will launch before the end of June.
  • Starts With A Bang’s Ethan Siegel looks at how the discovery of gas between galaxies helps solve a dark matter question.
  • Strange Company shares a broad collection of links.
  • Window on Eurasia makes the obvious observation that the West prefers a North Caucasus controlled by Russia to one controlled by Islamists.
  • Arnold Zwicky takes a look at American diner culture, including American Chinese food.

[LINK] “Ebola-Free Sierra Leone Bets on Cocoa to Spark Recovery”

Bloomberg’s Silas Gbandia and Isis Almeida report on the struggles of Sierra Leone’s nascent cocoa agribusinesses to survive Ebola and its aftermath.

In July 2014, Adrian Simpson was on a night out in Sierra Leone’s third city of Kenema to celebrate his biggest deal yet: a contract to supply a new business partner with cocoa beans from his company’s plantation.

But as he and the business partners sat drinking beer, an unexpected visitor brought some distressing news.

“We were having a great evening,” said Simpson, managing director of the cocoa unit of London-listed Agriterra Ltd., by phone from London. “Then, an American girl who was studying Ebola wandered over to our table, sat down and said, ‘I think Ebola has arrived.”’

Fast forward to November 2015, and Sierra Leone was declared free from the disease that ultimately claimed almost 3,600 lives in the country, making it one of the hardest-hit by the worst Ebola epidemic yet. The double blow of Ebola and a slump in iron-ore prices devastated the West African nation. While growth is forecast at 0.1 percent this year, the economy contracted 0.25 percent in 2015. Before Ebola began to spread, the government expected growth to reach 14 percent in 2014. Instead, it grew 4.6 percent.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 8, 2016 at 4:04 pm

[LINK] “The Long Tail of Ebola: Depressing African Economic Progress”

Wired‘s Maryn McKenna reports on the lasting economic consequences of the West African Ebola epidemic.

It has almost completely vanished from the news in the United States, but Ebola persists in three countries in Africa: Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone. The World Health Organization’s update today puts the case toll at 21,171 in those three countries, with 8,371 deaths. (Eight thousand deaths. Think about that, for a minute.)

But the uncomfortable reality is that the impact of Ebola reaches far beyond those individual cases. In reports issued today and in December — which I missed at the time, so am bumping it back up for reading now — the World Bank predicts that the disease will cripple the economies of these countries into the future.

Some examples from the current reports, on Liberia and Sierra Leone:
■Half of the heads of households in Liberia are out of work.
■60 percent of women and 40 percent of men in Liberia are unemployed.
■80 percent of families growing food had smaller harvests in the past growing season than the year before, because they were unable to find workers to help with the harvest.
■Two-thirds of Liberian households were not able to buy enough food.
■In Sierra Leone, 179,000 people have lost their jobs due to Ebola’s effects.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 22, 2015 at 12:01 am

[LINK] “Iron Price War Deepens Crisis in Ebola-Stricken Sierra Leone”

This multiply-authored Bloomberg article touches upon the economic ramifications of the West African Ebola epidemic.

Sulaiman Kamara, a handcart pusher in Freetown before the outbreak began in May, used to earn 50,000 leones ($11) a day, before a shriveling economy took away his job. The 42-year-old father of three now hawks cigarettes and candy on streets with shuttered shops and restaurants, empty hotels and idling taxis. Some days, he’s lucky to make a quarter of his former earnings.

Things are about to get worse again. Iron ore, the biggest export earner, is in a major tailspin, leaving Sierra Leone’s two miners on the verge of collapse and jeopardizing 16 percent of gross domestic product in a country where output per person was just $809 last year.

Used in steelmaking, iron ore has slumped 39 percent this year as the world’s largest miners spend billions of dollars expanding giant pits in Australia and Brazil. Digging up ore that’s less rich in iron and operating with restrictions imposed to stop the disease’s spread, local producers can’t compete.

“The impact of Ebola in terms of iron-ore revenue is huge,” said Lansana Fofanah, a senior economist in Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. “Iron ore is responsible for the country’s double-digit growth since 2011 until the Ebola outbreak.”

Iron ore contributes more in mining royalties than any other mineral to government revenue, which has plunged since the outbreak began, and as the budget deficit worsens, the International Monetary Fund has agreed to step in.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 14, 2014 at 9:16 pm

[LINK] “Sierra Leone’s 365 Ebola deaths traced back to one healer”

Frankie Taggart’s AFP article conveys terribly sad news. From such small seeds do such terrible catastrophes grow.

It has laid waste to the tribal chiefdoms of Sierra Leone, leaving hundreds dead, but the Ebola crisis began with just one healer’s claims to special powers.

The outbreak need never have spread from Guinea, health officials revealed to AFP, except for a herbalist in the remote eastern border village of Sokoma.

“She was claiming to have powers to heal Ebola. Cases from Guinea were crossing into Sierra Leone for treatment,” Mohamed Vandi, the top medical official in the hard-hit district of Kenema, told AFP.

“She got infected and died. During her funeral, women around the other towns got infected.”

[. . .]

The herbalist’s mourners fanned out across the rolling hills of the Kissi tribal chiefdoms, starting a chain reaction of infections, deaths, funerals and more infections.

A worrying outbreak turned into a major epidemic when the virus finally hit Kenema city on June 17.

Written by Randy McDonald

August 21, 2014 at 7:52 pm