In mid 2015, many of the anti-Ebola efforts moved from curbing the spread of the disease to mitigating the devastating economic and healthcare outcomes it left in its wake. Besides the economic impact of the disease which, for example, reduced Sierra Leone’s GDP growth rate by half, Ebola also had a crippling e ect on the already weak healthcare systems of the countries in question. Liberia lost 10% of its physicians and 8% of its nurses and midwives to Ebola.29 Sierra Leone, on the other hand, lost 5% of its doctors and 7% of its nurses.30
Although the epidemic seems to be resurfacing following reports of new infections, a vast amount of resources has to be allocated to repair the damage already caused. In April 2015, President Obama hosted the leaders of the three countries that were the most affected by the disease: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. He urged vigilance and continued partnership to eradicate the disease. Meanwhile, in August of the same year, China’s foreign minister Wang Yi paid a visit to the three countries and emphasized the eradication of poverty and the strengthening of infrastructure to beat Ebola. Wang made promises to help the three countries and even pledged to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in the post-Ebola economy to construct ports, roads, railways and addressing water supply needs.31 While in Liberia he even vowed, “You will see houses and roads built by China and Chinese companies helping the people of Liberia…China is ready to continue to play that role and shoulder the responsibility.”32 Many think that the Asian giant can make good on its promise. Jeanine Cooper, representative to the African Union of the UN O ce for the Coordination of Humanitarian A airs (UN-OCHA) hailed, “China has been one of the leading international partners not only for the affected countries but for the African Union…the spirit of solidarity is very strong…and I am optimistic for the future.”33
As the Ebola epidemic seemed to be drawing to a close, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea succeeded in securing billions of dollars in pledges. In July 2015, it was reported that donors had pledged a whopping USD 3.4 billion to help the three countries recover from the outbreak. The major donors included the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Union and the United States.34 This exceeded expectations as the nance ministers of the three African countries had requested USD 3.2 billion to be used in the next two years to combat Ebola and its effects.35 It is important to note that China has only donated USD 5 million to this fund.36 This perhaps indicates that although China’s medical efforts against Ebola are the largest the country has ever undertaken since its founding, Western powers are still leading efforts against the disease.