The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) looks forward to the day after Covid-19 and forsees the reorientation of the continent’s economies, which so far have accumulated almost 2,360 deaths from the disease.
Any estimates of damage now seem to be rushed, but Uneca, concerned as it is about what could happen, chooses to be cautious and prepare responses for the worst possible scenario.
Africa recorded about 68,000 infections, with 23,989 recovered. Egypt, Algeria, Morocco and South Africa are the most affected, although in other countries the spread of the virus is growing rapidly.
According to a Commission report released here, one of the reasons for these records is the imposition of blockades, which help stop the transmission of the new coronavirus, but also cause devastating economic consequences.
This measure was implemented by at least 42 African countries and resulted in a drop in demand for products and services, a lack of cash flow, and a further reduction in new transactions, among other consequences, the text states.
Many states lack the resources to overcome these challenges, the agency acknowledges, and proposes combining strategies aimed at avoiding devastating social impacts in an attempt to put each state’s economy back on track.
One of the main suggestions is to harmonize the increase in the amount of evidence and the rigor in tracking contacts with the decree of gradual segmented reopening.
However, the report stresses, decisions must be based on accurate scientific assessments of the epidemiological contingencies and the social and economic benefits they could bring.
According to official estimates, the African economy would lose 2.5 percent of its GDP each month if a total blockade is declared and could contract itself up to three percent this year due to the pandemic.