As the Ebola crisis continues to unfold across West Africa and the international community belatedly responds, broader questions arise beyond the immediate challenges on the ground. These fundamentally challenge our understanding of ‘development’ as framed and practised in past decades.

In order to understand the causes and consequences of this particular outbreak, and to foster resilience, our attention must turn to why these outbreaks occur, why they have such devastating impacts in some situations and not others, and what responsibility ‘development’ may bear.