17th of April 2020. The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), in a new report on the coronavirus pandemic, says over 300,000 Africans could lose their lives due to COVID-19. This, as the pandemic continues to impact on the Continent’s struggling economies whose growth is expected to slow down from 3.2 percent to 1.8 percent in a best-case scenario, pushing close to 27 million people into extreme poverty.
The Report, which was launched virtually on the 17th of April and is titled, ECA Report: COVID-19 in Africa: Protecting Lives and Economies (48 pages) says Africa’s fragile health systems could see additional costs being imposed on them because of the growing crisis that has to-date, resulted in over 16,000 infected Africans and claimed over 800 lives at the time of the report’s launch.
“To protect and build towards the Continent’s shared prosperity, $100 billion is needed to urgently
Vera Songwe, UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, Economic Commission for Africa.
EXTRACTS OF THE REPORT
If prices continue to fall over the coming months, the situation will affect vulnerable small-scale farmers who are the back-bone of coffee and tea production in major African coffee producing countries such as Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. Cocoa prices on 7 April 2020 had fallen 6 per cent since the start of 2020. Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are dependent on cocoa exports for 39 per cent and 19 per cent of their exports, respectively. The sector involves more than 800,000 farmers in Ghana. (page 18)
The Ethiopian horticulture industry reportedly lost $11 million potentially resulting in the layoff of 150,000 people. (page 19)
Falling demand has translated into a 26 per cent fall in cotton prices since December 2019, with knock-on effects for cotton farmers in Benin, Burkina Faso, Mali and Zimbabwe.(page 16)
World production of staple foods is currently strong; it is access to that supply that must be ensured. (page 26)
Most worrisome for Africa is the stall in shipments of rice from India, Africa’s second biggest supplier, due to a nationwide lockdown there, and export bans on rice in Viet Nam and Myanmar, Africa’s fifth and sixth biggest suppliers, introduced on 24 March and 3 April 2020, respectively. (page 26)
The introduction of a quota on wheat exports from the Russian Federation, Africa’s largest supplier, on 1 April 2020, raises concerns for North Africa. Thirty-nine African countries are net importers of basic foods, in particularly north African countries, which are dependent on wheat imports, and west African countries, which are dependent on rice imports. In total, Africa remains dependent on imports for approximately 29 per cent of its cereals. (page 26)
The globally coordinated response to COVID-19 provides a template for the climate response of Africa: with Africa’s fiscal space even more constrained by COVID-19, additional assistance is required for African countries to fulfil their nationally determinedcontributions to climate action. (page 32)
In the absence of clean cooking technologies, the consumption of wood for cooking increases pressure on natural habitats, thereby increasing the risks of zoonotic diseases. (page 33)