COVID-19 Policy in Africa - Countries grapple with Virus containment and subsequent Economic consequences

COVID-19 Policy in Africa - Countries grapple with Virus containment and subsequent Economic consequences

Summary

Following the outbreak of COVID-19, Africa was seen to be a disaster waiting to happen once the virus was to take a hold on the continent. Millions of deaths were predicted due to the underdevelopment of the region and with many countries ranking low on the United Nation’s Human Development Index, based on health, education and standard of living. However, the number of cases reported and mortality remains low. There are issues surrounding testing capacity, reliable reporting and death registration but overall there has been a success in containment of the coronavirus so far.

Key Highlights

  • African healthcare systems are significantly less equipped or prepared for a large scale outbreak than countries in other regions. As well as this population density is very high in numerous cities which aids virus transmission. Across the world COVID-19 deaths have predominantly occurred in older segments of the population which is likely to have benefited Africa.
  • The median age for the whole of Africa is 19.7 with around 40% of the continent younger than 14, according to World Bank data. Although not conducted on a large scale there have been some antibody surveys which have suggested that a high number of the continents population have the sufficient antibodies for protection. Either many more have been infected but have been asymptomatic or there is another currently unknown explanation
  • Experience from combatting epidemics such as Ebola and Lassa fever meant that the continent had more experience dealing with similar crises. Travel restrictions, school closure and curfews were implemented much earlier in Africa compared with other continents often before some countries had even detected a case. The African Centre for Disease Control (Africa CDC) has led the direction of the 54 countries of Africa into an alliance. The African Union has also had an important impact creating an online purchasing platform allowing governments to buy equipment such as testing kits, N95 masks and ventilators directly from manufacturers, some of which is now produced in Africa too.
  • Despite success in containment of COVID-19, lockdowns across the continent have created economic difficulty. The crash in oil prices impacted some nations, notably Angola as its economy is heavily reliant on the fossil fuels. Reports have suggested that lockdowns, with even moderate restrictions, can create huge economic difficulty in the poorest countries which have knock on effects on health and education. So far the African diaspora which extends across the globe has been hugely significant in quashing the economic damage of COVID-19 but the World Bank estimates remittances from migrant workers could fall by as much as 20% this year.
Scope
  • Learn how the virus has spread into Africa
  • Understand how the continent is dealing with its spread
  • What regions are coping and which are failing
  • See what can be learned from the African experience with the virus
Reasons to Buy
  • What countries in Africa are coping better?
  • Which strategies are being deploying?
  • How does it compare to the spread in Europe and North America?
  • Are there any lessons to be learned for the future?


1. OVERVIEW
1.1. Catalyst
1.2. Summary
2. AFRICA HAS AVOIDED A SEVERE COVID-19 OUTBREAK DESPITE EXPERTS’ PREDICTIONS
2.1. Underdeveloped healthcare system and population density feared to aid spread of the virus
2.2. Young population may explain low mortality rates
2.3. Antibody surveys suggest many across the continent may have resistance to disease
3. GOVERNMENT POLICY ACROSS THE CONTINENT HAS BEEN SWIFT AND AIDED CONTAINMENT
3.1. African Centre for Disease Control has led a united effort
3.2. Rwanda has been a shining example of individual country response
3.3. Security forces have supported lockdown enforcement but this has led to violence in some states
4. LOCKDOWN MEASURES HAVE CREATED ECONOMIC ISSUES ACROSS AFRICA
4.1. States have to weigh up lockdown restrictions against economic prosperity
4.1.1. South African president Ramaphosa under pressure to mitigate economic damage of the pandemic
4.1.2. Kenyan and Tanzanian government responses demonstrate different approaches
4.2. Remittances have been crucial in mitigating financial crisis
5. INSTABILITY AND OTHER CRISES PROVIDE ADDED DIFFICULTY TO CONTAINMENT OF COVID-19
5.1. Regions in political turmoil and conflicthave added difficulty in implementing coronavirus response
5.2. COVID-19 is yet another issue for countries battling other health and climate emergencies
6. APPENDIX
6.1. Abbreviations and acronyms
6.2. Sources
6.3. Further reading
7. ASK THE ANALYST
8. ABOUT MARKETLINE
List of Figures
Figure 1: Lagos - Nigeria’s largest city
Figure 2: John Nkengasong - Director of the Africa CDC
Figure 3: President John Magufuli of Tanzania declared the country virus free in June
Figure 4: A military coup in August 2020 ousted former leader Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta

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