Although it was shielded from the ravages of the coronavirus at first, Africa has come under the direct attack of Covid19 in the past few weeks. The number of people who have been falling sick to the virus has gone through the roof, with the daily death count also reaching concerning proportions.
The governments around the continent have been trying their level best to contain the virus. However, just like their counterparts across Europe, Asia and America, the lack of experience of dealing with a pandemic has led to them fighting the virus with one hand tied behind their back.
As a result, several threats have reared their ugly head in the wake of the virus in Africa. But if we choose to ignore the doom and gloom scenario that the media is painting, there are also quite a few silver linings in today’s situation which businesses and governments can exploit to their advantage.
With this in mind, let’s look at the threats and opportunities facing Africa in the wake of Covid19:
COVID19’s Threats for Africa
Following are the threats of the virus for Africa:
#1: Huge Number of deaths
According to a report by U.N Economic Commission for Africa, the continent could witness 3.3 million deaths and 1.2 billion infections under the worst-case scenario. Citing modeling from Imperial College London, the report further claims that even under the best-case scenario, the number of fatalities could exceed the 300,000 mark in the continent.
#2: Quarter-of-a-billion people pushed into extreme poverty
There is a possibility that the worst-case scenario could see the number of severe cases exceed the 10 million mark over the next six months. If that goes on to happen, the growth rate across the continent might contract by an average of 2.6%. Such a meager growth rate would push more than 27 million people into extreme poverty in a continent which is already the world’s poorest.
#3: Recession in sub-Saharan Africa
One of the most densely populated regions in the world – with 20 people residing in every square kilometer – sub-Saharan Africa could be pushed into a recession because of the coronavirus. The World Bank claims that it would be a huge shock for the region which saw a growth of 2.3% in 2019, and which hasn’t witnessed any recession in a quarter-century.
COVID19’s Opportunities for Africa
Following are the opportunities that the virus may present for Africa:
#1: Improvement in the healthcare system
As the African leaders grapple with the question of how to minimize the spread of the virus, nearly 20 European and African leaders have called for at least $100 billion in immediate financial help to African countries.
Provided this request is approved, it would give the African leaders the necessary funds using which they can modernize Africa’s notoriously bad healthcare system. That would help save the lives of Africans not only in the coming months but also in the coming decades.
#2: Removal of the neo-colonial mindset
As the huge number of COVID-19 cases in Europe and North America has shown, the myth that it is only the healthcare systems in Africa that are always overwhelmed by outbreaks has been debunked. It has shown that any country can become a victim to a pandemic.
This situation should convince the Africans to hatch plans towards self-reliance and wean themselves off of neo-colonial relations. They can do that by carrying out reforms that prioritize African markets, local manufacturing and innovation.
#3: Moving up the supply chain
As any Africa watcher might tell you, the bulk of the continent’s revenue comes from the extraction and sale of raw materials to Chinese, European and American markets. This crisis should convince Africa the futility of this approach for a very specific reason.
Their over-reliance on foreign markets leaves them exposed to things out of their control. This realization should convince them to build industries that convert local resources into value-added products. They could then export these products and get greater revenues.
As a part of our corporate social responsibility, Lobbying Africa is doing all it can to help the African countries in these testing times. We have been proudly providing medical supplies to some sub-Saharan African countries to help them deal with the pandemic. Also, our experts are advising those countries devie policies using which they can face Covid19 in a well-prepared manner.