• September 22nd, 2020

Covid-19: SADC feels the pinch

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to create an acute shortage of essential supplies, including personal protective equipment, diagnostics and medical equipment. 
This information is contained in the April SADC regional response to Covid-19 pandemic report, which analyses the regional situation and impact. 

The report shows Covid-19 testing capacity on the African continent, including the SADC region, remains limited and this has a bearing on the number of cases that countries are reporting. 
It is estimated that 14% of patients with Covid-19 will require hospitalisation and 5% of them will require intensive care unit treatment and oxygen therapy. 

“This situation will require that all care centres be equipped with ventilator or life support machines, pulse oximeters, functioning oxygen systems and disposable, single-use, oxygen-delivering interfaces,” the SADC report revealed. 
It stated that all this would exert pressure on health service delivery, already under heavy strain in many African countries, let alone SADC member states. 

On food and nutrition security, the report shows prior to the Covid-19 pandemic that a record 45 million people were already estimated to be food insecure in the SADC region as a result of climatic shocks such as drought and flooding as well as structural macro-economic and social factors. 

According to the report, the Covid-19 outbreak and its debilitating impacts on livelihoods will only exacerbate the situation, eroding community coping capacities and deepening food and nutrition insecurity of vulnerable households and individuals. 
Furthermore, the report indicated that it is likely that the number of vulnerable people will increase due to, among others, loss of informal sources of income emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the April 2020 World Economic Outlook, the widespread impact of Covid-19 has led to a gloomy economic outlook. 
The global economic growth forecast for 2020 was revised from 3.3% in January 2020 to a contraction of 3.4% in April 

Accordingly, the SADC regional economic growth forecast was also revised from a growth of 2.3% in October 2019 to a contraction of 3.4% in April 2020. 

With the forecasted economic downturn due to the pandemic and the budgetary implications for the policy measures which member states are instituting, the fiscal deficit of the SADC region for 2020 is estimated to widen to 8.9% compared to the October 2019 estimate of 4.5%. 
The regional debt level is estimated to rise to an average of 70.7% of GDP in 2020 from the October 2019 estimate of 60.1% of GDP. 
Globally, oil prices have plummeted further after the world’s energy regulator warned that the biggest production cuts in history will fail to offset the deepest fall in demand in 25 years. 

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has also announced that the market should brace for the lowest oil demand in 25 years because of the global lockdown across countries and territories to contain the virus.
The report shows Covid-19 will disrupt the small-scale manufacturing and informal sector in the SADC region. 
Both local and export demand for manufactured goods is likely to reduce as a consequence of the pandemic. 
The SADC region is a major supplier of precious metals and, as a result of Covid-19, the prices of these metals used for industrial applications are on the decline. 

Similarly, the report stated that prices of base metals key for industrialisation such as copper, aluminium, chrome and manganese have all weakened due to lower Chinese demand as China consumes about 45% of metallic minerals produced worldwide. 
The supply chain disruption stemming primarily from the lockdown of factories across China, the United States and the European Union (EU) poses the most immediate and prominent risk for manufacturers in the SADC region. – anakale@nepc.com.na

Albertina Nakale
2020-04-30 10:23:41 | 4 months ago

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