Africa’s economy could recover from COVID-19 in 2022

A health worker checks the temperature of a traveller as part of the coronavirus screening procedure at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra, Ghana January 30, 2020.
Africa’s economy could only start recovering from the impact of Coronavirus in 2022. This is according to Amit Thakker – Chairman of Africa Health Business.

Speaking at a joint briefing by the World Economic Forum and the World Health Organisation – Thakker says the next two years will see economies shrink due to decreased production and activity.

He says strong leadership will then be needed to pull countries out of negative territories

Amit Thakker is the Chairman of Africa Health Business says governments will need to strategise on how to turn their individual economies around. Recession is imminent in nearly all states on the continent.

“I think we will start separating the leaders who believe in progressive growth. Progressive leadership that will encourage progressive partnerships globally to invest more and to make Africa the hub of products and services that we’ve already started seeing so much of”.

Thakker says the private sector will also need to adjust and be innovative

“My really call out is that every company is Africa – start having strategic intent on how you can retain jobs. How you can repurpose your business and its not business as usual. That will reduce the contraction”.

The impact of the coronavirus is already being felt. A big question – is when will the viral infection peak on the continent?

The World Health Organisation’s Africa Region believes that countries will experience the peak of COVID-19 infections four to six weeks from the start of community transmissions.

WHO AFRO Director, Tshidi Moeti, says there will be exceptions. It says based on their calculations – it should take less than two months on average for individual countries to report their highest number of daily infections. South Africa’s government has estimated the peak to be between July and September.

“This is a model that takes into account population movement, density, the underlying conditions. The age structure of the population. We’ve estimated that 4-6 weeks of the start of community transmissions to peak”.

‘Africa’s response exemplary’

Meanwhile, the Africa Centre for Disease Control has praised the African Union’s leadership for its role in coordinating the continent’s response to COVID-19.

Director, John Nkengasong, says AU Chair, President Cyril Ramaphosa, and the Commission Chair, Moussa Faki Mahamat, have ensured that member states contribute to the joint effort of fighting the outbreak.

The continent has more than 51 000 positive cases of the coronavirus and just over 2000 deaths. Nkengasong says through political will, Africa’s response has been exemplary.

“President Ramaphosa has been extraordinary. The fact that the heads of state have met in sessions to discuss extensively every week speaks to the strong political leadership and will in responding to this crisis. They see this as a serious health crisis, a serious security crisis, and a serious economic crisis and these are the lessons other parts of the world can learn from Africa”.

Herbal coronavirus cure?

On Madagascar’s touted herbal coronavirus cure – the Africa CDC and WHO AFRO say people should allow the product to be put through scientific clinical trials.

The island country says it has a herbal mixture that has assisted in the recoveries of patients who had contracted the viral infection.

The Africa CDC and WHO AFRO have both invited the Madagascar government to submit the herbal drink for testing.

Regional Director of WHO AFRO, Dr Matshidiso Moeti says there needs to be analysis to see if the herb is safe to use across populations before being shared widely.

“I advise against countries adopting a product which has not been taken through tests to see its efficacy against COVID-19 and also its safety in different populations and simply encourage that anything that it’s being used should be done under conditions of a clinical trial where evidence can be collected.”

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize revealed, this week, that South Africa has been approached by the Madagascar government to assist in scientific clinical trials of the product.