Following the increased cases of Coronavirus in Africa, regional leaders are starting to take bold policy actions to contain the spread, by shutting their economies up from international counterparts. As at the time of writing, the top-3 countries with the most confirmed cases within the region include Egypt (169), South Africa (62), and Algeria (60), while fewer cases have been reported across the region. The broad response has ranged from the suspension of school and work activities, shutdown of land borders, restriction in the numbers at gatherings, suspension of international flights and thorough quarantine of citizens returning from several countries.
For Nigeria, the Federal Government (FG) has ramped up precautionary efforts in terms of screening at airports, sensitization and emergency responses from the Nigerian Centre for Disease Control. However, contrary to the reaction of other African economies, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire stated that Nigeria has not placed travel bans on any country. This came moments before the third coronavirus case was confirmed in Nigeria, which was contacted by a Nigerian returning from the United Kingdom.
While not imposing travel bans and activity restrictions, promote international mobility, trade and continued economic activity, the key risk for Nigeria here is widespread contamination. Also, we believe the current state of the country’s healthcare system, evidenced by its meagre contribution to GDP of 0.66% in 2019 and 4.4% allocation in the 2020 budget, puts the ability of the industry to handle a pandemic in question.
United Capital Research