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4 African Business April 2020

Impact of coronavirus

In mid-March, South Africa barred entry to visitors f rom China, Germany, Italy, the US, the UK and others as it sought to ward off the global coronavirus pandemic, placing more strain on an economy that was projected to grow just 0.8% this year. Declaring a national state of disaster, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that foreign nationals who had visited highrisk countries would be denied a visa. K enyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said his government was suspending travel from any country with reported cases, while Ghana said that t ravellers f rom countries with over 200 cases would be shut out.

UNICEF stresses importance of handwashing 63% of people in urban areas in Sub-Saharan Africa – roughly 258m people – lack access to handwashing facilities, potentially hampering the continent’s fight against coronavirus, says UNICEF. A s the pandemic continues its spread, UNICEF is reminding the public of the importance of handwashing as a key prevention measure against Covid-19 and urging renewed efforts to provide access to this most basic of public health interventions.

Travel bans across continent

UNECA slashes Africa growth forecast The UN Economic Com mission for Africa has slashed its growth forecast for the continent due to the global coronavirus pandemic. UNECA says that Africa’s growth will fall from 3.2% to 1.8% this year, although further downwards revisions are possible given the continued impact on supply chains and oil prices. Oil exporting nations could lose up to $65bn in revenues a s c rude oil prices c ontinue to tumble, says UNECA, and Africa needs $10.6bn in unanticipated increases in h ealth spending t o curtail the virus.

Airlines cancel flights Africa’s airlines have cancelled flights as the aviation sector begins a coronavirus-induced shutdown. In mid-March South African Airways cancelled all regional flights till the end of May while SA Express suspended operations. Ethiopian Airlines began cutting services to China in February. Tunisair said it would lose 70m dinars ($24.6m) in March and 80m dinars in April due to the pandemic.

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