A new report has warned that sub-Saharan African economies could be badly affected by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
The Overseas Development Institute (ODI) on Monday said the virus could impact sub-Saharan Africa by as much as $4-billion in export revenue.
According to the institute, globally, losses from trade revenue could rise up to $360-billion, and already, in Nigeria, there are reports of oil traders struggling to find buyers for 55 crude oil cargoes.
The World Bank has said it will provide up to $12-billion to developing countries responding to the virus, which has thus far wiped $5 trillion off global stocks as it spreads to other countries including Nigeria, Africa’s biggest economy and most populous country.
Fears of a global recession are now rising, analysts have said.
“By paralysing the world’s largest importer and second consumer of oil, this virus attacks the heart of the global economy, China accounts for more than 16% of the world economy. With China stopped, economic activities around the world are directly and indirectly affected. As if the ‘Covid-19’ hit globalisation at its heart,” Mahaman Laouan Gaya, former secretary-general of the African Petroleum Producers’ Organisation (APPO), said.
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) last month downgraded the outlook for the increase in oil demand for 2020 due to the outbreak of the virus in China, saying, “Evidently, the timing of the outbreak exacerbated the impact on transportation fuel demand in China, as it coincided with the Chinese Lunar New Year holidays, as millions of Chinese return home to celebrate with family members and friends, or travel abroad.”
Until last week, global financial markets had largely ignored the spread of Covid-19 as it swept across China to Europe and the Middle East, stoking fears of a global pandemic.
South Africa’s health minister, Zweli Mkhize, announced on Monday afternoon that four more people, all from KwaZulu-Natal had tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the number of reported cases in South Africa to seven.
The minister said that another couple from Howick had tested positive. He said two men from the Pietermaritzburg area had also tested positive.
All four people were part of a group of ten people who visited Italy recently.
The minister said that all the patients had been quarantined and that the department was awaiting test results for others from the group.