Africa’s GDP to fall by $88.3bn due to COVID-19, says AfDB
COVID-19 had been projected to cause Africa’s Gross Domestic Product to fall by between $22.1 billion and $88.3 billion, according to Africa’s biggest multilateral lender, African Development Bank (AfDB).
In a statement issued by the Bank on Saturday, African countries, with the experience of having fought off Ebola, are working to adapt to this new threat and looking to the Bank for an effective, multilateral response to the crisis.
The AfDB said the West African region was home to at least four of the continent’s fastest-growing economies before the coronavirus outbreak and had been severely hit by the crisis as borders remained closed and economic and social austerity deepened.
The bank has granted Nigeria 288.5 million euros, Senegal – 88 million euros, Côte d’Ivoire – 75 million euros, Cape Verde – 30 million euros and ECOWAS – 22 million euros.
“Gambia, Mali and Niger will benefit from an ECOWAS support package to bolster national health systems in response to the pandemic. Much of the funds to this region will seek to address shortages in personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other emergency equipment.
“The support will also enable governments to provide shortfall cash to the millions of people who have been affected by mass layoffs or are unable to work because of lockdowns,” it said.
According to the AfDB, the North African region was worst hit by the pandemic with over 60,000 cases recorded as of 12th June.
It stated that “the disease has already triggered a sharp drop in household incomes in North Africa, as export and tourism earnings suffer. The region will be assisted with a series of emergency operations to boost containment measures and help to ensure the supply and distribution of laboratory tests and reagents.”
Its response package for the region includes 264 million euros for Morocco, 180 million euros for Tunisia and $500,000 for Egypt.
The AfDB observed that East Africa, which was the continent’s fastest-growing region economically, had been simultaneously struck by a double whammy of coronavirus outbreak and infestation of desert locusts.
It affirmed that post-harvest losses and poorly developed agricultural markets could threaten the prospect of economic reforms and investment in a region plagued by climate change and water scarcity.
“Measures taken across the region to contain the pandemic have affected millions of people, many of whom work in the informal economy.”
The lender’s has granted financial assistance worth 188 million euros to Mauritius and $13.7 million to Zimbabwe.
In Central Africa, Cameroun had reported more than 8,000 coronavirus infections as of 12th June and significant community transmission.
The package approved for the region by the bank comes to $13.5 million and will target the provision of Personal Protective Equipment, testing kits and healthcare and laboratory facilities for Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, which is among the countries with the least number of ventilators on the continent