United Nations report shows that West African economies may suffer a loss of up to $15 billion because of the influence of the Ebola epidemic on its trading and investment opportunities, as well as tourism.

The three most affected countries, Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have a body count of nearly 10,000 people by now, which has significantly influenced the countries’ economic state.

The projected losses vary between $3.6 and $4.9 billion annually in the next three-year period, and it is the three abovementioned countries that will have the largest burden.

Due to the closure of borders, and greatly reduced exchange of goods, it is estimated that the largest impact will be on individuals belonging to the informal economy, which are mostly women and rural dwellers.

Ebola Outbreak May Lead To $15 Billion Losses For West African Economies In The Next Three YearsThe report goes on to explain that the poverty rate may increase in these three countries by an astounding 22 percent. Even in countries such as Nigeria, Mali, Ivory Coast, and Senegal, which were slightly or not at all struck by the epidemic, the trading will be affected and the poverty rate may increase.

While the estimates of the damage have varied greatly since the outbreak of the epidemic, economists emphasize that in largely informal economies such as these, it is very difficult to project actual losses, as economic activity is difficult to keep track of.

Although a goal has been set to eradicate Ebola by the middle of April, so far it is only Liberia that has shown progress, with a report of zero cases in the past week.