Coronavirus Infects Africa’s Economy

By Antonio Cascais

So far, two countries in sub-Saharan Africa have officially been affected by the COVID-19 disease: Nigeria and Senegal. But the economic consequences of the coronavirus outbreak are already being felt on the continent.

In Africa, fear of a COVID-19 epidemic is growing. The economy is also in turmoil: no one knows how big the economic damage caused by the little-researched coronavirus will be. Small African companies that import food, technology or clothing from China — the country of origin of the COVID-19 virus — are already feeling the effects of the crisis.

If companies in the Far East remain closed or restrictions are imposed on Africans travelling to China, customers in Africa will be left out in the cold. Sales are falling dramatically. African exporters also fear the consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak: China is Africa’s largest market for crude oil and other raw materials.

Nigeria: No country imports more goods from China

Nigerian authorities contacted about 100 people who may have been close to an Italian who is considered to be the first coronavirus patient in the country, according to the state health commissioner, Akin Abayomi.

The salesman of cement company Lafarge Africa PLC arrived in Nigeria’s economic metropolis, Lagos, on February 24 by plane from Milan. 

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