COVID-19: Africa will lose $65b to full lockdown, says UNECA
DIRECTOR of Regional Trade and Integration at United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) Mr Stephen Karingi has said Africa will lose $65 billion if there is full lockdown of the continent due to COVID-19.
Karingi spoke during the World Health Organisation (WHO) and World Economic Forum (WEF) virtual briefing. The director said the African economy would contract as much as three per cent in 2020.
According to him, UNECA’s analysis showed that with total lockdown, the economies would lose 2.5 per cent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) monthly.
“This is about $6.5 billion every month based on the intensity and strictness of the lockdown. If we have a full lockdown … we would lose $65 billion,” he said.
He said reports of the first quarter showed a reduction in exports and lower revenue generation by governments, because of low activities of businesses and the economy.
Karingi noted that Africa’s recover depended on its actions to save lives and businesses. The director said measures by governments should be a smart exit from the lockdown, and to ensure numbers of COVID-19 cases decreased to prevent an economic shutdown.
Executive Chairman of Africa Health Business and President of Africa Healthcare Federation Dr Amit Thakker said there were three phases of Africa post COVID-19 recovery.
Thakker explained that the phases would run from 2021 to 2023, and phase one, repair, would involve containment, vaccines, social distancing measures and hand washing.
He said phase two in 2022 would determine if Africa’s growth would be strong or decline, while phase three would be partnership and leadership to achieve progressive growth.
World Health Organisation’s (WHO’s) Regional Director for Africa Dr Matshidiso Moeti said easing lockdown in Africa should be gradual, with the most essential parts of the economy being opened up first.
Moeti noted that containment measures should be in place to ensure rates of COVID-19 infection reduces, while upscaling testing, contact tracing and treatment of patients.