REUTERS By Daniel Flynn, James Harding Giahyue and Saliou Samb Feb. 27, 2015
DAKAR/MONROVIA/CONAKRY - In the marble atrium of the Mammy Yoko hotel in Freetown, manager Nuno Neves has spotted something he has not seen since the Ebola virus struck Sierra Leone nine months ago: foreign businessmen.
The Radisson Blu chain opened the four-star hotel in April to cater for investors in one of Africa's fastest-growing economies. A month later, Ebola crossed the border from Guinea and those investors fled....
For months, Sierra Leone was cut off from the world amid panic at the worst recorded outbreak of the hemorrhagic fever, which has killed more than 9,500 people in Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia and infected over 23,500.
But with infection rates slowly declining, investors have begun to talk about post-Ebola reconstruction. Neves has noted the return of businessmen not seen since the hotel opened.
"They don't bring their teams. They just come to see what is going on and then they leave," he said, adding that 'business as usual' remains far off. "This will be a year focused on Ebola. First the fight to end Ebola and then reconstruction...."