Kenya’s economy tops African Countries with the highest risk exposure to the deadly Corona Virus ahead of other destinations where this illness has been diagnosed.
According to a report by South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank, Kenya’s economy has the highest overall Covid-19 risk score of 27 points, followed by Ghana on 24 and Egypt at 23. African countries with the least risk are Nigeria with a score of 11, Botswana on 13 and Mozambique on 17.
Those counties that are likely to be hardest hit are those whose GDP growth rates are below the Sub-Saharan Africa average, the report notes. The likely impact of coronavirus on African economies can be gauged through tourism, trade and transport sectors, according to Neville Mandimika and Daniel Kavashe of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Global Markets Research in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The report notes that how Covid 19 will impact on Africa depends on individual countries trade links with China in terms of imports and exports.
RMB research notes uses transport gross value added, tourism earnings relative to total export earnings and trade with China as a proportion of overall trade, to gauge how the COVID 19 virus will impact on African economies.
Kenya has a strategic location as a regional transport hub for landlocked Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan. Thus, experts warn that effects of the recent cancellation of ships scheduled to dock at the port of Mombasa, is bound to reverberate across the Eastern African region.
“The spark that will implode the economy will be immense. Government has no capacity or room for any stimulus package. The structure of the economy is now skewed against income tax cuts to spur demand. Our forex reserves are not enough to support the local unit anymore,” said Reginald Kadzutu, Head of Retail at Zamara.
Kenya’s port of Mombasa is a lifeline for most economies in the East Africa region. But with cargo ships calling at the port dwindling, matters could only get worse for Kenya and the East Africa region.
Mr Daniel Manduku, Managing Director of Kenya Ports Authority (KPA) has warned that if the pandemic is not contained soon, the port of Mombasa will be hit by low cargo volumes as shipping lines keep off due to the worldwide panic caused by the COVID 19 Virus.
Available figures indicate that China is Kenya’s largest source market accounting for about 20 per cent of Kenya’s import requirements.
Kenya Ethiopia, Guinea and South Sudan are the latest countries to confirm cases of Corona Virus. The disease has now spread its effects to at least 18 counties on the African continent.
The list of countries that have already reported cases of the disease include Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, DRC, Nigeria, South Africa, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Ghana. These counties still have confirmed cases in single-digit figures.
North Africa is the epicenter of the disease in Africa with only five deaths confirmed. Sub-Sahara Africa has yet to report any deaths so far.
Health Minister confirmed the country’s first case of the virus, a 27-year-old female who travelled back home through London on March 5th, 2020. Authorities have since restricted all foreign travel and banned large public gatherings.