Ebola costing Zim economy

HARARE - Although Ebola has not physically visited the shores of Zimbabwe, effects of the haemorrhagic disease are already being felt in the cash-strapped southern African country.

Local music lovers in the past few weeks woke up to shocking news that Jamaican artiste Konshens, born Garfield Spence, had cancelled his tour of the country.

Konshens, who was billed to headline this year’s edition of Lion Lager Summer Beer Festival, became the second Jamaican artiste to cancel his African tour after Luciano, who was billed to perform in Harare at the Sting 2014 in November, also cancelled his African shows due to Ebola scare.

“Owing to directives from the Jamaican government barring performing artistes from that country to any country on the African continent citing concerns over Ebola haemorrhagic fever, Koshens has cancelled his trip,” said Delta Beverages — the organisers of the annual beer festival.

Contemporary musician Mukudzei “Jah Prayzah” Mukombe, who was scheduled to attend the Africa Music Awards to be held in Nigeria next month, is also reported to have cancelled the tour due to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The devastating effects of Ebola have not just affected the travelling public but also hampered proper planning in the arts industry.

Music promoter Partson Chimbodza was left counting his losses after Luciano indicated that he was no longer touring Africa.

“We had already paid Luciano half of his appearance fee. But they can refund or we postpone the event,” he said recently.

Asked if he was going to cancel the show, Chimbodza said they were still weighing their options and would announce their decision in due course.  

Robert Zhuwao, the Red Fox proprietor, who is among African promoters who intend to bring Jamaican reggae band Morgan Heritage to Africa, says the Ebola outbreak has forced them to plan the pending tour anew.

Zhuwao said the Ebola scourge has necessitated the removal of West Africa from the planned tour expected to take place in December.

“Initially Morgan Heritage had planned to tour Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Zimbabwe and most probably South Africa.

“However, it seems the group is now contemplating skipping West African countries, fearing the Ebola outbreak,” he said.

The tourism and hospitality industry is among the most affected sectors in the country.

Last week, Karikoga Kaseke, the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority chief executive said the country lost nearly $6 million in hotel cancellations due to an Ebola scare after a college student was admitted at Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital in the capital.

“We have registered plus or minus 30 cancellations to the Sanganai/Hlanganani Expo due to the Ebola scares. We have received cancellations from buyers from China, Malaysia, Europe and other African countries,” he said.

About 30 foreign buyers, 11 from Europe and the rest from Asia pulled out of the country’s biggest annual tourism event — the Sanganai World Tourism Expo.

“We have also recorded cancellations from tourists who had booked and paid their monies just to come and visit Zimbabwe.

“We have lost close to $6 million to these cancellations which are emanating from Ebola reports,” added Kaseke.

This comes as the World Bank President Jim Yong Kim recently said the festering Ebola disease could cost Africa $32 billion in two years.

Ebola has wreaked havoc in West Africa with, Sierra Leone and Liberia being the most affected countries.

At least 4 000 people have died in the worst outbreak of Ebola virus in history, which has so far infected at least 5 357 people in West Africa, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said recently.

In an update on the epidemic, which is raging through Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia and has spread to Senegal, the WHO said there were no signs yet of it slowing.

Kaseke urged a cautious approach when reporting on the haemorrhagic disease to offset potential disaster on the country’s already ailing economy.

Francis Ngwenya, the Zimbabwe Council for Tourism (ZCT) president, said the economy is lost an additional $1 million last month following the last minute cancellation of the 18th Insurance Congress for Developing Countries (ICDC) that was to be held in the resort town of Victoria Falls.

ICDC organisers had already barred West Africans from attending the indaba in a bid to prevent a possible spread of the highly contagious disease.

Grace Muradzikwa, the organising committee’s chairperson, said the number of expected delegates had gone down to 250 from an initially estimated 700.

Countries expected at the event — to be hosted by Zimbabwe for the first time — included Bahrain, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh, Botswana, Dubai, Kenya, Philippines, England and Vietnam.

Economic experts assert that the latest development come against the worsening economic situation in the country.

Zimbabwe in July slashed its 2014 growth forecast to 3,1 percent from 6,1 percent, due to lower output in mining and manufacturing and as more companies shut down, the Finance minister Patrick Chinamasa said.

Comments (3)

Let's be alert and galvanise to fight Ebola!!!

TanakaHonest - 27 October 2014

Ebola!!! there is something worse than ebola in Zim that is adversely affecting the economy. at the moment, in Zim, Ebola is nothing to write about. we have biger devils

forbesk - 27 October 2014

whatever the direction our beautiful country take we still need to be serious and think positively. start your own business venture and we @ Flixcom Solutions will help you register a company here in Zimbabwe. we will assist you in everything that is required under Zimbabwean laws for you to start operating. call us on 0771 419294 or 0776 228 760 email flixcomsol@gmail.com

Dextor - 28 October 2014

Post a comment

Readers are kindly requested to refrain from using abusive, vulgar, racist, tribalistic, sexist, discriminatory and hurtful language when posting their comments on the Daily News website.
Those who transgress this civilised etiquette will be barred from contributing to our online discussions.
- Editor

Your email address will not be shared.