Covid-19: Time to Unleash the Power of International Co-Operation

Major outbreaks in developing countries could cause the collapse of weak health systems and expose gaps in social protection programmes, especially in Africa, where so many schemes rely on official development assistance. A humanitarian crisis may be in the making: travel restrictions affect the delivery of humanitarian assistance, and infections in refugee camps – largely hosted in developing countries – will be difficult to fight. The ILO estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide, possibly more, as the majority of workers in developing countries are in the informal economy. Analyses of the impact of the virus on Africa’s already stagnant growth are alarming and highlight its dependence on the performance of its economic partners. The impact of Covid-19 in China, Africa’s major trading partner, is already having ripple effects in the region. African oil exporting nations could lose as much as USD 65 billion in revenues as oil prices continue to fall and Africa could see its GDP growth rate cut in half, falling from 3.2% to about 2 % due in part to the disruption of global supply chains. Covid-19 could reduce total exports of crude oil in 2020 by between USD 14 and USD 19 billion in Nigeria alone.

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