COVID-19 has already cost African economies a total of $29 billion as of March 2020, a report from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) shows. The amount is almost equal to Uganda’s GDP which hit about $28.5 billion at the end of 2019.
The report further highlights the following:
- COVID-19 to trim 1.4% off Africa’s $2.1 trillion GDP due to business disruptions
- Africa’s annual economic growth to drop from 3.2% in February to 1.8% in March
- Africa to spend more than $10.6 billion in unanticipated increases in health budgets to curb spread of the virus
- Petroleum exporting countries to lose billions of dollars in export revenue as demand for fuel dwindles
According to United Nations ECA Executive Secretary, Vera Songwe, Nigeria is already staring at the possibility of the virus reducing its crude oil exports by between $14 billion and $19 billion.
Apart from oil exports, other sectors that have been hardest hit by the economic shutdown include tourism, aviation, and agriculture.
Locally, Kenya’s flower industry has already witnessed a sharp decline in exports, as wide as a 50% drop, with a majority of farm workers being sent home. On the other hand, national carrier, Kenya Airways, has sent some of its workers on unpaid leave as it suspends all international passenger flights with effect from 25th March 2020.
Therefore, as the East African reports, ECA suggests the following measures be put in place so as to reduce more losses in revenue:
- Revision of budgets to prioritize spending towards essentials such as food and healthcare
- Creation of a special fund to cater for the virus’ prevention and curative facilities