Monday, April 06, 2020

Africa and COVID-19

As we like to do here, as others look away - we like to keep an eye on sub-Saharan Africa. In economic, demographic, radicalism, migration and other areas - Africa will produce more friction by mid-century than it can consume locally.

From the expansion of ISIS in the north, to the crippling secondary effects of HIV/AIDS in the south - anything that further keeps back the continent's progress will make an already challenging present and future more difficult.

COVID-19 is pulling every corner of the world down, Africa will be no exception. As they are already so far down the development ladder, this shock holds the potential to drive negative effects in all directions.

Adding to this already grim prospect is an assumption that COVID-19 will act in a similar way through different populations - with different outcomes relative to the access to and quality of available health care. Africa, even on a good day does not look good with that variable.

Could it be worse? Things can always be worse. 

History shows that some diseases have a predilection to be deadlier to some populations more than other based on shared DNA. Though more research is needed, in the first nation with a significant population of sub-Saharan African extraction, the USA, is fighting through a COVID-19 infection, we are seeing signs that the disease is deadlier to those of sub-Saharan African extraction.

If COVID-19's deadliness can vary among population groups relative to DNA commonality ... what does that hold for Africa?
Some of Uganda’s poorest people used to work here, on the streets of Kampala, as fruit sellers sitting on the pavement or as peddlers of everything from handkerchiefs to roasted peanuts.

Now they’re gone and no one knows when they will return, victims of a global economic crisis linked to the coronavirus that could wipe out jobs for millions across the African continent, many who live hand-to-mouth with zero savings.

“We’ve been through a lot on the continent. Ebola, yes, African governments took a hit, but we have not seen anything like this before,” Ahunna Eziakonwa, the United Nations Development Program regional director for Africa, told The Associated Press. “The African labor market is driven by imports and exports and with the lockdown everywhere in the world, it means basically that the economy is frozen in place.
There is so little flex in Africa, you can assume where this is going. Economic dislocation brings conflict and migration.

Keep an eye here, especially if you live in Europe.

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