BY EMEKA EJERE
A report by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has predicted that over 300,000 Africans may lose their lives due to Coronavirus.
UNECA in the report also estimates that the situation could push close to 27 million people into extreme poverty.
The report, which was launched on Friday and titled: “COVID-19: Protecting African Lives and Economies”, estimates that Africa’s fragile health systems could see additional costs being imposed on it.
The agency explained that the predictions are the result of the growing global health crisis that has left more than 16,000 Africans infected and claimed over 800 lives at the time of the report’s launch.
Speaking on the effect of the pandemic, the United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary, ECA, Ms Vera Songwe, explained that to protect and build toward the continent’s shared prosperity, 100 billion dollars is needed to urgently and immediately provide fiscal space to all countries.
According to her, it will help address the immediate safety net needs of the populations.
Songwe noted that Africa is particularly susceptible because 56 per cent of its urban population is concentrated in slums or informal dwellings and only 34 percent of African households have access to basic handwashing facilities.
“The economic costs of the pandemic have been harsher than the direct impact of the COVID-19.
“Across the continent, all economies are suffering from the sudden shock to the economies.
“The physical distancing needed to manage the pandemic is suffocating and drowning economic activity,” she added.