Browsing: Pandemic

A Russian invasion of Ukraine has sent shockwaves through financial markets.

Every African region has felt the effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, with West Africa also bearing the burden of a war miles away in Europe.

  • At a period when West Africa has been facing a severe food crisis since 2011, the Ukraine conflict has complicated matters further.
  • For most West African nations, the expenses of regulating rising prices are already too high.
  • The West African economic crisis and the Russia-Ukraine scenario highlight the perilous linkages between diplomatic sanctions, commerce, and food security.

Africa’s post-Covid recovery hampered

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has hampered Africa’s potential recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by raising food and fuel costs, interrupting the trade of services and goods, constricting fiscal space, limiting green transitions, and slowing the flow of development funding across the continent.

The crisis has jeopardized homes, communities, and nations across Africa. Before 2020, African countries were among the world’s fastest-growing. The COVID-19 pandemic …

Nairobi. Kenya's private sector performance dipped in January according to the latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data.

The index signalled a solid decline in operating conditions, albeit one that was slower than those seen in April 2021 and during the second quarter of 2020.

“Economic activity started 2022 on a subdued note as evidenced by the Stanbic PMI reading that fell to the lowest level in nine months. The reading was below 50 which indicated a deterioration in business conditions from December,” Kuria Kamau, Fixed Income and Currency Strategist at Stanbic Bank commented.

While export demand grew marginally, domestic demand fell significantly as client spending was negatively affected by rising inflation and a resurgence in Covid-19 due to the Omicron variant, he noted.…

An Airbnb property. The company defied the pandemic to quadruple revenues to US$2.2 billion in 2021.

In Africa, South Africa has the biggest Airbnb market, accounting for half the listings in Africa.
In 2021, Airbnb registered 2.9 million hosts, with 100,000 of those coming from Africa. Approximately 14,000 hosts are now joining every month. It has reported 7 million listings and has spread to over 100,000 cities in 220 countries and regions.
South Africa boasts 43,400 listings and an income of above US$95 million; Morocco has 21,000 listings and an income of above US$22 million; Kenya has 5900 listings and a US$3.9 million income. …

The Ever Given ship during the Suez Canal blockage. The Suez Canal made billions in profitability in 2021 despite the blockage.

According to the United Nations, water transports approximately 80 per cent of the total international trade volume. The Suez Canal has cemented its importance in the world.

The waterway transports approximately 12 per cent of global trade. 7 per cent of the world’s oil passes through the connection between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

The canal began operations in 1869. It has been a source of foreign exchange and national pride for Egypt. It brings about US$6 billion to the country every year. In 2021, 1.27 billion tonnes of cargo were shipped through the canal. …

The Kenyan bank said it would use the loan to help it increase working capital and trade-related lending to its small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) clients in Kenya, especially those facing COVID-19 related challenges.

The loan from IFC is one of the single-largest credit facilities to a Kenyan lender.

Besides shoring up the bank’s capital base, the new loan will also be lent to customers, fitting IFC’s’ impact investing criteria.

IFC encourages the banks it funds to lend to women-owned enterprises and climate-related ventures such as renewable energy projects.…

A street in Uganda. Uganda's economy is being weighed down by youth unemployment and external debt among other challenges.

Statistically, Uganda appears to have been relatively untouched by the pandemic in terms of infections and deaths but unhappily holds the unenviable world record of being the country that closed its schools for the longest time.

The consequences of this in terms of mental health, teenage pregnancy, child labour and school dropout rates is likely to have a negative effect on my adopted country for many years to come. School closure also emphasised the uncertainty factor.

President Museveni and his Health Minister have recently declared that not even Omicron will delay the reopening of the economy any longer and that Uganda will be fully open for business with the aim of rebuilding the economy from January 2022 onwards. …

A market place.

With several elections in 2022, there is a possibility that some countries may become conflict hotspots. In addition, the threat of terrorism remains real.

Already, the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia remains a major cause of instability in the East African nation. Depending on how this is dealt with, countries in the larger Horn of Africa region remain sensitive.

In 2022, more than 25 of Africa’s fastest-growing economies will register more than 5 per cent growth as projected by the IMF.…

african entrepreneurs

Covid-19 has hit small businesses hardest and around the world, many are either still struggling or they have already shut down almost two years after the pandemic started.

The pandemic has caused large-scale loss of life and severe human suffering globally and as the largest public health crisis in our time, the pandemic has also generated a major economic crisis. 2020 saw a halt in production in affected countries, a collapse in consumption and confidence, and stock exchanges responding negatively to heightened uncertainties.

In Africa, things are no different and despite the hit by the pandemic, a June 2021 African Development Bank (AfDB) White Paper, Entrepreneurship and Free Trade: Africa’s Catalysts for a New Era of Economic Prosperity, states that entrepreneurship must be at the heart of efforts to transform Africa’s economic prospects.

Read: Why Kenya’s small businesses are choking

The Covid-19 crisis has triggered shifts that open up …

A Covid-19 vaccine. Africa’s vaccine manufacturing capacity is badly affected by its reliance on imports.

On Thursday, May 13, the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) disclosed that African countries had acquired 38.03 million Covid-19 vaccines thus far. 

For a continent with close to 1.5 billion people, the acquisition is at snail’s pace, sporadic and at best remains a lengthy process that may never be completed to successfully cover every African citizen in need of the vaccine. 

Out of the 38 million doses, 22.4 million doses had been administered corresponding to a coverage rate of 1.48 per cent of the continent. Only five out of the 55 African nations had administered most of the doses of the Covid-19 vaccine respective to their populations.…

A business otheexchange.africautsourcing space setting. Outsourcing could help Africa narrow its unemployment gaps. www.

In addition, many African countries are increasing their internet speeds creating an opportunity for the world to outsource to Africa. The continent’s population is largely youth with estimates showing that almost 60 per cent of Africans fall into this category going by 2019 estimates. This effectively makes Africa the world’s youngest continent where the average age is 25. 

The biggest challenge for the continent is youth unemployment which is a ticking time bomb. Unemployment has been a big talking point but not much has been done to move the pin towards substantive employment for the youth who remain in the grim under-employment statistics. …