Threat of Coronavirus Vs Africa ‘Very Real’

Threat of Coronavirus Vs Africa ‘Very Real’

The coronavirus outbreak has made it clear that problems at local and regional levels are rapidly gaining global dimensions while cooperation mechanisms for solving problems are completely inadequate. Excessive energy consumption in a certain region of the world can cause natural disasters in other regions.

While there is not enough attention given to any disease in Africa, the pandemic can cause fears in the U.S, which is somewhat similar to a situation when a terrorist movement supported to not get harmed can also hit those who support it.

Nigeria now has 210 confirmed cases of coronavirus with four deaths registered. Director General of the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Dr. Chikwe Ihekweazu, who forms part of the presidential task force on COVID-19, says they are working with stakeholders in the private and public sectors to expand testing capacity for the virus.

Kenya now has 122 positive cases of COVID-19. The country has also recorded the death of a six- year-old child due to the viral infection, bringing the death toll to four. Fifty African Union member states registered over 7000 cases of COVID19, 289 deaths, and 592 recoveries.

South Africa has the highest number of cases on the continent with 1505 confirmed infections.

Even though the number of cases in Africa is low right now, it is currently a serious threat to the continent. The pandemic has also spread to Africa confirmed with the positive results of virus tests, especially of the state officials, bureaucrats, people from business, arts and sports, those connected to the outside world. It was the first case on the continent to be recorded with the detection of an infected person in Algeria.

ANALYSIS - COVID-19 pandemic: Great danger awaits Africa

Then, the outbreak began to rapidly take effect in Kenya and other countries, notably Egypt, South Africa, and Morocco, respectively. The total number of cases on the continent, for example, was 450 on March 17, and this figure has already risen to over 5,400. So although there are currently eight countries with no confirmed case, considering the permeability of the borders, these numbers are predicted to rise in the following days.

Of the 54 African countries, 33 are among the least developed. Besides, a 2016 report by the think-tank the RAND Corporation on the most vulnerable countries to infection outbreaks in the world says 22 out of 25 countries are on this continent.

Therefore, almost all countries in Africa are unfavorable in many areas, from basic hygiene needs to health infrastructure. Other important and alarming factors are the presence of people living in unfavorable conditions in major cities, as well as communities of people displaced in sub-Saharan African countries, forced to migrate to other countries and living in non-sterile environments in camps. If the virus spreads to these areas where these people in the camps are struggling for life, what both the host countries and the international community can do may require serious restrictions and drastic measures.

The most negative impact of COVID-19, which has already begun to have devastating consequences on both international economics and politics on African countries in these areas will result from the fact that oil prices have fallen to their lowest level in the last two decades. There are oil exporter countries such as Algeria, Libya, Nigeria, Angola, Congo, Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, with their incomes dependent on oil, which will deeply feel this crisis in the short term. The disagreement between Russia and Saudi Arabia on production cuts, and Riyadh’s massive rise in production have led to serious drops in oil prices. This was coupled with the rapid decline in oil demand in China where the pandemic emerged, depriving the oil exporter African countries associated with this country, of their main source of income.

In conclusion, the spread of the pandemic will eventually stop, and the international system will find a balance, but most of the damage will be permanent, particularly for the African countries. The current crisis heavily hitting the economies on a local, regional and global scale, will also present opportunities at its final stage, but using these opportunities requires access to the capital. Considering that the capital can only be provided by outsourcing in most African countries, the situation does not seem pleasant at all. So the initiatives taken by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank and other international institutions for the continent are vital in this process.