Since the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, Africa has been bracing itself for the worst. Even before it got to Africa, some economies had been feeling the heat since China is a significant contributor to Africa’s economic growth. They provide a market for some goods, and they also manufacture a lot of products at a lower price, compared to the UK and the USA. With over 36 countries in Africa reporting cases of the Coronavirus, its economy has lost more than $29 Billion, and they’re still counting.
According to ECA (United Nations Economic Commission for East Africa), Africa’s annual economic growth might reduce from 3.2 to 1.8. This decline may get worse as they report more cases and more deaths in more countries. The $29 Billion loss is equivalent to Uganda’s current GDP. However, Uganda has not reported the Coronavirus yet. Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia are among the countries with confirmed countries in East Africa. As of March 20, 2020, there were 9000 deaths globally, 200,000 reported cases, and 700 cases reported in Africa.
Africa’s Stalled Economic Growth
The African Economy has experienced stagnant growth in the past decade due to corruption, wears, drought, and other disasters. As a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, things might get worse since Governments are going to spend billions when trying to fight this virus. Also, China, which was walloped by the virus, is the largest trading partner for Africa.
The Coronavirus Pandemic has led to lock downs
At the time of writing this, Uganda has confirmed its first Coronavirus case. On March 22, 2020, Kenya confirmed eight more cases, raising their Covid-19 cases to 15. Ethiopia has more than 50 cases, which is more than all other cases combined in East Africa. According to WHO, there may be more cases than those reported, calling for desperate measures to inhibit the spread of this virus.
These new developments have led to stringent measures by the Governments. In Kenya, travel bans have been imposed on international flights. Church gatherings, bars, and entertainment venues, baby showers, and other crowded places have also been prohibited. These shutdowns and lockdowns are causing losses in various financial sectors, including the Oil industry, Agriculture, Travel, and Tourism. Due to the Air travel Shutdowns, Nigeria is already losing billions of dollars. The recent initiatives to connect Africa to the rest of the world have played a significant role in the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak in Africa. The stock market is unstable, and investors aren’t investing in Africa anymore.
So far, there’s no confirmed cure to the Covid-19. With several countries closing their borders, leaders are using social media to sensitize people on the best sanitation practices. This includes using detergents and running water, or the use of hand sanitizers. However, besides the stagnant economic growth, people in rural areas lack proper information, and some regions have no access to water. Some regions are in the semi-arid parts of Africa, where they walk for miles in search of cooking water, let alone water for sanitation. Others live in informal settlements such as slums where a virus outbreak could spread fast. It’s also hard for these people to be on lock-down since they live hand to mouth. They can’t go for days without working since they won’t have food to eat, and money for other basic needs.
Possible Solutions to the Coronavirus Pandemic
The UN and WHO is advising African nations to invest more resources on the potential effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, such as hunger. These Governments can facilitate the transport of food and other basic needs to all parts of the country. They can also facilitate the importation of extra food from other countries. They should also invest in improving their health systems to ensure that they minimize the spread of this virus. This will also equip them with health facilities to deal with the diseases that are already affecting Africa. Unlike China, the US, and the UK, Africa has not seen several Coronavirus cases. Since their health systems can’t handle extreme cases, they should take this chance to prepare and mitigate the possible effects of the virus.