The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is currently causing a significant adverse impact on the global economy occasioned by countries imposing measures to mitigate increasing cases and also sanctioning countries with more cases.
Governments around the world are implementing various fiscal measures to mitigate the adverse effect and provide relief for businesses and households. Across the Eastern African region, the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt in different ways and the measures taken by the respective governments have also differed on the areas of focus and comprehensiveness.
The third wave of coronavirus in Kenya saw President Uhuru Kenyatta issued a couple of measures restricting movement by locking the Capital city Nairobi and Neighboring counties as a one zoned area.
Kenya’s decision to halt the movement of interstate buses across its border following a surge in Covid-19 cases has left many business persons across East Africa stranded since the ban on movement by air, rail and roads came into effect within the zoned area.
President Uhuru Kenyatta on March 26 ordered a lockdown suspending movement in and out of five Kenyan counties of Nairobi, Nakuru, Machakos, Kajiado, and Kiambu.
With Kenya being the major exporter and importer of the East African Community (EAC), accounting for around 46 percent of exports and 41 percent of imports for the whole region. As well as also responsible for more than half of manufacturing value-added produced by the East African Community (EAC) (Mold, 2017), which implies that Kenya has some competitive advantages in merchandise goods (beyond primary exports), EAC Countries are likely to suffer much more especially landlocked country like Uganda may not be so lucky in terms of the overall trade impact.
The figures for Kenyan re-exports and intra-regional exports produced by the Kenyan National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) last year between March and May same period with the same measures imposed suggest a concerning scale of disruption to intra-regional commerce different from not now the same is likely to replicate going forward and Considering Kenya’s leading role in intra-EAC trade
At the Border point of Busia, Bus service operators who spoke to the media one identified as Jafari Owour lamented their stagnation at the border point with passengers who were traveling from the Capital city of Uganda, Kampala got their self stranded.
“Most of our passengers do advance booking and by the time the travel ban was issued, many had already paid for their tickets,” Mr Owour said.
He added that they were forced to make refunds to 50 travelers, majority of whom were traveling to Nairobi, Mombasa and Nakuru with others still waiting to know whether they will be refunded or not.
It is the same story that is happening to business persons and travelers across the Kenyan Border points and especially those plying to route into the Capital city of Kenya, which is under partial lockdown together with its neighboring counties of Kajiado, Machakos, Nakuru and Kiambu.
Many have had to endure the pain of being refunded their money with some as far as Kigali who were coming to the city questioning the adverse effect of the Kenyan government on their business partners.
“We are wondering why Kenya ordered a ban on public transport in the five counties and yet they are allowing travel by air to Nairobi,” one of the travelers said
The spike in Covid-19 cases in Kenya has left several people in need of intensive care, especially oxygen support.
The disruptive impacts of the COVID-19 crisis on global and regional trade have received enormous attention recently. But facts, in the form of data, have been thin on the ground.
Since the partial lockdown, the hospitality and tourism sector has been hard hit by the pandemic as the president during the March 26 address to the nation suspended operations of bars in Nairobi, Nakuru, Machakos, Kajiado, and Kiambu counties.
The president directed that the sale of alcohol and eateries in the five counties is also prohibited.
“The operations of bars, restaurants, and eateries in the other 42 Counties shall continue as is, but they shall at all times be conducted in strict fidelity to Ministry of Health Guidelines, failure to which appropriate action against management, staff, patrons, and premises shall be taken,” he said.