Africa’s Multi-Billion Head On Economic Collision With Coronavirus
By Lyric Prince
- Health spending on the coronavirus pandemic is expected to reach $10.6B across Africa
- In Africa there are over 10,000 coronavirus cases
For the past few months, Europe and America have been contending with the inexorable spread of COVID-19, but recent statistics show that Africa will face a severe health and economic threat. Additional health spending on the pandemic is expected to reach $10.6 billion across Africa and the Brookings Institute estimates up to 2.1 percentage points in lost GDP growth for sub-Saharan Africa. However, the continent is expected to be the last afflicted on a wide scale, due to a low median age of 19.4 years. They also have five of the 10 least populated countries in the world, which could help slow the virus’ progression.
Why This Matters: Even as Africa is still bracing for the full effect of the pandemic, because few countries were able to offer widespread testing for the new virus, it has already been hit by collapsing trade and broken supply chains. The crash in oil prices have hurt African countries including Angola and Nigeria that export oil, and together could lose up to $65 billion in income. Some countries have strengthened their emergency preparedness since the 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak, which resulted in a GDP loss of 13.7% to 18.7% per year between 2014 and 2017 in Liberia alone.
Even as Africa is still bracing for the full effect of the pandemic...it has already been hit by collapsing trade and broken supply chains.
Many people in Africa work in gig or vendor based economies that are not amenable to stay at home coronavirus measures. According to the International Labor Organization “85.8 percent of employment is informal” in the continent. Much of this work is agricultural and involves large groups of people working together, for economies and communities that depend upon them for survival.
Situational Awareness: There are over 10,000 coronavirus cases in Africa and 500 deaths, many feel cautiously optimistic about the continents’ ability to control the viral spread. However, due to the continent’s developing infrastructure, economic disparities, and shortage of trained medical professionals all harm its collective ability to combat the disease’s advance.
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