In the News: how to ensure daily life under the threat of coronavirus

Audio 4:17

Burundians wash their hands, as a preventive measure against the Covid-19 coronavirus, upon the arrival of their repatriation in Gatumba, on the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Burundi, on March 18, 2020. Onesphore NIBIGIRA / AFP

By: Frédéric Couteau Follow


The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the lives of millions of Africans ... Sometimes it is difficult or impossible to go out, go to work, find food; more effusions, handshakes, hugs; less social contact therefore ... And economic consequences that directly impact the portfolio.

Example in the DRC, where we are witnessing a “  surge in prices on the Kinshasa markets  ”; this is the headline of the bi-weekly Le Nouvel Observateur. This rise in prices, especially of basic necessities, has been visible since the end of March, the newspaper noted, when the Governor of Kinshasa, Gentiny Ngobila, made the decision to confine the entire city province to prevent the spread of the virus.  Consequence: the capital found itself isolated from the provinces of Kongo central and Bandundu which provide it with food. To this," continues Le Nouvel Observateur, "we must add the police harassment on the number one highway.  "


Another impact of the pandemic: the virtual shutdown of certain professions. Example: hairdressers in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso ... “  Usually, L'Observateur Paalga notes , hair salons are crowded (…). Now, the observation is quite different. Zero customers in places, one or two here, there. Some hairdressers have even chosen to close the store outright, considering it too difficult to comply with the instructions of the Ministry of Health, which include the wearing of a mask and the distance of one meter . "

Indeed, how to style or cut the hair while respecting the safety distance? And on the client side, apprehension dominates, notes L'Observateur Paalga , like this student “  who used to be braided at least once a month. She decided to change this habit: 'As long as the disease exists in Burkina, I will only wear wigs, she says; because I'm really scared. '  "

Food scandal in Senegal?

We come back to the food sector, with questions and even scandals. This is the case in Senegal, if the daily Walf Quotidien is to be believed, which this morning reported on the front page of "  strong suspicions of deals in the business  " of buying and distributing food by the public authorities. We risk attending a Covidgate in Senegal, exclaims the newspaper. Indeed, the purchase and distribution by the state of food aid are riddled with quirks upstream and downstream,  "he says. With for example “  the granting to two companies belonging to the same person of two markets of 18 billion FCFA.  " Walf Quotidien does not hesitate to speak of"  nepotism, concussions, sleight of hand and other tricks, with real risks of embezzlement of public funds and looting of the goods of the nation.  "

"No African country will be spared by the crisis"

Finally, on a global level, the economic shock of the Covid-19 pandemic will be severe for Africa ... This is what the IMF director of Africa, the Ethiopian Abebe Aemro Selassie, said in an interview with Le Monde Africa . The year 2020 promises to be terrible for the region's economy ," he says. We expect a contraction of around 1.5% of the GDP of sub-Saharan African countries, although many uncertainties remain. However, there are two striking elements in the current situation, points out the IMF's Africa director. This time, no African country will be spared the crisis. And this is a major difference from the financial crisis of 2009, when the countries of the region were less integrated into the global market economy. Then , continues Abebe Aemro Selassie, the economic shocks, internal and external, are multiple and more serious. The financial markets are no longer accessible for African countries and the price of raw materials has dropped, which will particularly hit oil-exporting countries. The cessation of tourism will also severely affect islands such as the Seychelles, Mauritius and Cape Verde. And the containment measures taken by governments are causing a disruption in demand and production.  "

It is in this context that the debt relief that has been talked about a lot in recent days takes on its full extent. Our main concern is to see the countries of the region lose their gains in development over the past decade," concluded the IMF's Africa director. That is why we must make sure that Africa does not go back . "

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  • Coronavirus
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