Covid-19 containment measures to hit hard on Cameroon's GDP
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CAPE TOWN - Crude oil exports and tourism will record the highest in Cameroon’s revenue losses due to strict measures taken in an effort to mitigate the spread of the novel Coronavirus pandemic.
In a report published last week, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) predicted a 3.1% drop in Cameroon’s revenues from tourism, as well as oil and non-oil exports due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
The UNECA’s Central Africa office said that Cameroon’s revenue losses in the tourism and exports sectors could go up to 4.1% of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The highest loss will be recorded in the revenues from crude oil exports (2% of GDP), while tourism revenues will follow with losses representing 1.5% of GDP.
The losses in revenues from exports of other commodities and exports products could be 0.6% of GDP, the institution said.
It said that the closure of pubs and restaurants at 6pm every day, as well as the restriction of flows in those places, will deal a heavy blow to the brewing and tourism industries and all their value chains.
The same applies to the cancellation of all conferences, seminars and other business trips, which usually provide a lot of revenue to hotels.
Like all other countries where cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed Cameroon has announced, among other measures, the closing of its borders, schools, implemented restrictions on movements across the country, and prohibited gatherings of more than 50 people, effective on Wednesday.
Cameroon's health authorities have to date confirmed 14 cases of Covid-19.
The measures that practically put the country in a state of emergency were announced on Tuesday by Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute after the state confirmed 10 Covid-19 cases on its territory.
UNECA also warned that the evolving Coronavirus crisis could seriously dent Africa’s already stagnant growth with oil exporting nations losing up to $65 billion in revenues as crude oil prices continue to tumble.
Speaking at a press conference in Addis Ababa, ECA executive secretary, Vera Songwe, said having already strongly hit Africa’s major trading partner, China, Covid-19 was inevitably impacting Africa’s trade.
“Africa may lose half of its GDP with growth falling from 3.2% to about 2% due to a number of reasons which include the disruption of global supply chains,” Songwe said, adding the Continent’s interconnectedness to affected economies of the European Union (EU), China and the United States (US) was causing ripple effects.
She said the continent would need up to $10.6 billion in unanticipated increases in health spending to curtail the virus from spreading, while on the other hand revenue losses could lead to unsustainable debt.
The report also said that a decline in commodity prices could lead to fiscal pressures for Africa’s economic power houses such as South Africa, Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt and Angola.
Speaking at the same conference, Stephen Karingi, director of the ECA’s regional integration and trade division, said there was, however, an opportunity the Continent could take advantage of as trading within the African continental free trade area (AfCFTA) is set to commence in July.
“The intra-African market could help mitigate some of the negative effects of Covid-19 through limiting dependence on external partners, especially in pharmaceuticals and basic food,” he said.