NBE March 13, 2020

Ethiopian Airlines, the major contributor to the economy of Ethiopia, is said may loss up to $260 million if the current spread of coronavirus outbreak continues.

The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) impact assessment of coronavirus on African economies presented this afternoon indicated that African economy will suffer badly by coronavirus, which has hindered the movement of people, investment flow and trade, among others.



Though Ethiopia may benefit from oil price decline as a result of coronavirus, the country will face food and medicines price hike, according to Vera Songwe, head of UNECA.

She indicated that her organization is currently engaged in discussion with the Ethiopian government officials on how to mitigate the negative impact of coronavirus on the economy and protect the poor people from becoming poorer as a result of the pandemic.

Meanwhile Stephen Karingi, Director, Regional Integration, Infrastructure and Trade Division at the UNECA, on his part stated that the African countries, can use the shock created by coronavirus as an opportunity to expand trading among themselves and boost their local production of food and develop the pharmaceutical sector of the continent.

Mentioning that African countries spend tens of billions of dollars on food import every year, he suggested that African countries should speed the recently agreed upon continent wide Free Trade Area agreement.

Though African economy is projected to grow by 3.2 percent in 2020, the projected growth is likely to decline down to 1.8 percent if the coronavirus continues its spread with the current pace.

The big economies of Africa, mainly the oil exporting such as Nigeria, Angola and Algeria, among other will suffer a lot by the decline of oil price caused following the outbreak of coronavirus. The ten oil exporting African countries loss around 100 billion, while Nigeria alone is estimated to loss $19 billion, according to the assessment of UNECA.

Economies of countries dependent on tourism, remittances incomes such as Morocco, Kenya, Ethiopia and the like is also going to lose billions of dollars as a result of coronavirus. It is also indicated that to combat the pandemic, African countries need to inject $10 billion investment into their healthcare system.

African countries, which have been importing majority of food and pharmaceutical products, are advised to place advance order to avoid crisis if the current disruption of global supply chain caused by the outbreak of coronavirus led to total shutdown of international trade. The assessment of UNECA has also advised African countries to mobilize their domestic resources and expand their investment in social security to rescue the poor.