No doubt, coronavirus has become one of the deadliest diseases in modern history, with about 500,000 casualties worldwide. The pandemic has left in its wake severe economic consequences, especially for the world’s developing nations. Despite the many socio-economic challenges faced and exacerbated by the pandemic, many African nations have shown great resilience.
The news continues to flow from the many nations that make up the continent.
Rwanda Adopts Robotic Technology to fight Covid-19
Rwanda, often at the forefront of African development in recent times, has displayed a great sense of leadership and ingenuity in the fight against the dreaded pandemic.
The small East African country deployed robots in delivering medicine and supplies and in enforcing a lockdown across the country. Right now the country is embracing the use of five robots at a Covid-19 treatment center to take patients’ temperatures, alerting security when people fail to wear face masks, and delivering food and other supplies to infected patients. According to the country’s government, this is to help in reducing the risk of exposure to the virus.
Rwanda’s progressive technological adoption is certainly a positive story that ignites hope in the potentials of the continent during the pandemic and beyond.
Kenya Earmarks Cash Transfers, Food Relief to Ease Pain Caused by Covid-19
Neighboring Kenya has earmarked an estimated $375 million towards health expenditures, directed at the creation and maintenance of isolation units for those infected by the coronavirus. The government has allocated equipment, supplies, and communication, as well as cash transfers geared toward food relief to the most vulnerable Kenyans.
Also, some of the funds have been designated towards expediting payments of existing obligations to maintain cash flow for businesses during the pandemic.
Furthermore, considering decreased lower revenues resulting from reduced economic activities and the dire urgency to create provisions to accommodate emergency spending, the Kenyan government is now reassessing its budget deficit target for the Fiscal Year 2019/20.
The government announced it is weighing other strategic measures which may include an income tax relief for citizens earning below the equivalent of $225 per month, reduction of the top tax, and base corporate income rates from 30% to 25%.
In a continent where such robust social programs are either uncommon or nonexistent, the Kenyans have embarked on what appears to be a viable development initiative towards protecting its most vulnerable and propping up its economy.
South Africa Eases Lockdown Measures, Prepares to Reopen its Economy
South Africa, home to one of the continent’s largest economies, is preparing to downgrade lockdown measures to level 3, beginning on June 1.
About 8 million people are expected to return to work and a full reopening of industries such as mining, manufacturing, construction, and financial services is also expected.
In an address to the nation on May 24, President, Cyril Ramaphosa said the reopening of the economy would be guided by strict health measures, and social distancing rules imposed by the government.
Nigeria Experiences GDP Growth in Q1, 2020
Meanwhile, in Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 1.87% (year-on-year) in real terms in Q1, 2020, according to the first quarter (Q1) GDP report, recently released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Although the numbers indicate a drop in performance in comparison to Q1, 2019 (2.10%), and a 0.68% points decline compared to Q4, 2019 (2.55%), the country remains resilient in its commitment towards national development. The slight decline, we are told, is the result of the recent crash in oil prices inflicted upon the global economy following Covid-19.
Ghana Hopes to Boost Its Economy by Growing, Exporting Apples
The nation of Ghana, on the West Coast of the African Continent,), says the country now has the potential to grow apples for export, This follows a 2-year experiment on the edible apple ‘Malus Domestica’, according to guidance from the Crops Research Institute (CRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
The institute further advised the country to increase its interest in apple production, suggesting that such a foray could boost the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and improve national economic performance.
Botswana Places Focus on Tourism as it prepares to Reopen its Economy
The government of Botswana, the country with sub-Saharan Africa’s largest GDP per capita, is prioritizing the revival of its world-famous tourism sector, as it proceeds towards reopening the economy.
Like most countries in the world, the government embarked on a nationwide lockdown in response to the coronavirus and is seeking to gradually reopen, with an emphasis on stimulating local and regional tourism.
Nonetheless, strict health guidelines and measures have been introduced to curtail the spread of the virus, while the country attempts to reopen its remarkable economy.