10 mei 2020
Hieronder een algemeen bericht over Afrika (uit The East African van gisteren) in de Covid-19 pandemie. Lockdowns hebben een directe invloed op beschikbaar voedsel.
African countries could gradually ease measures to slow coronavirus.
Countries that have flattened the coronavirus infection curve could gradually open up geographic regions or business sectors, restrict movement to certain hours through curfews or keep only high-risk demographics under lockdown. These are the recommendations of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
The Commission says that African countries have the advantage of being behind other nations in their infection trajectories, so they can learn from others as they try different exit strategies.
In a report published this week titled “Covid-19 Lockdown Exit Strategies for Africa,” ECA says wealthier African countries tend to impose more stringent lockdown rules, which cost the continent about 2.5 per cent of its annual gross domestic product of about $65 billion.
Burundi and Tanzania have imposed the least stringent measures in the region, while Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Djibouti and Morocco have the strictest measures.
Slum dwellers, who comprise 56 per cent of Africa’s urban population, have been the most affected by lockdowns. In a survey of about 2,000 residents living under lockdown in five Nairobi informal settlements, 75 per cent left their homes three times in 24 hours.
Vera Songwe, the Executive Secretary of ECA, said 70 per cent of people sampled in informal settlements reported skipping or eating less, and more than 50 per cent have reported reducing meals. These conditions expose the group to more illnesses due to low immunity as a result of inadequate nutrition.
“Though 95 per cent of slum dwellers have access to public handwashing stations, 32 per cent could not afford extra soap for hand washing. In the region, 36 per cent of people have no handwashing facility while 30 per cent cannot afford soap and water. Only 34 per cent have soap and water,” said Ms Songwe.
Forty two African countries imposed lockdowns from April 30. Countries with long lockdowns have shown positive results in the fight against the pandemic.
However, lockdowns pose challenges like reduced work for daily wage labourers limiting their ability to buy food, and more than 56 million African children missing school meals due to closures.
Restrictions on movement, reduced working hours and night curfews are affecting logistics. Companies like Kobo360, which operates in Nigeria, Kenya, Togo, Ghana and Uganda, has 30 per cent of its fleet grounded.
Access to seeds and agricultural inputs is constrained. Efforts to tackle the locust invasion have also been slowed as focus turns to the Covid-19 pandemic.