Africa prepares for “complete economic collapse” because of COVID-19
African leaders warned the UN of an economic collapse if millions of people left without work because of the new coronavirus are not helped by the international community. In particular, noting that "rich countries spend huge sums" to stimulate their economies, Benin's President Patrice Talon said that his West African country, "like most countries on the continent, does not have the means to fight the pandemic."
Given the fact that the authorities of some African countries have openly admitted their inability to help their citizens, the fate of many sectors of the economy of the Black Continent, experts say, can be a vivid example of how a coronavirus pandemic can cause irreparable damage to the very existence of developing countries.
"The African labor market is driven by imports and exports, the widespread closure of which around the world means that the economies of many countries on the continent will be frozen," said Associated Press Ahunna Eziakonva, regional director of the United Nations Development Program for Africa. According to her, until the coronavirus pandemic is taken under control, up to 50 percent of jobs can be lost in African countries. At the same time, the expert noted, aviation, services, export of raw materials, mining and agriculture will suffer the most. “We will see the complete collapse of the continent’s economies and livelihoods. Africa’s livelihoods will be destroyed like we never saw before,” a UN official warned.
In March, Vera Songwe, head of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), said Africa might need an unforeseen increase in health spending of up to $ 10.6 billion. And the loss of income can lead to the fact that this debt will become a long-term burden for many countries of the continent. UNECA called on the world community to take urgent action to protect 30 million jobs at risk in Africa, especially in the tourism and air travel sectors, stressing that the continent will be hit harder than others because of economic damage that will exacerbate its “current vulnerability”.
The International Monetary Fund said it received emergency funding requests from 20 African countries. It's about allocating billions of dollars. The fund has already approved credit facilities for at least two West African countries facing an economic downturn associated with the coronavirus pandemic, the AR notes.
Meanwhile, more than half of the 54 African countries have introduced stringent isolation measures, including curfews, home and travel bans, and other measures to prevent local transmission of the virus, Fox News reports.