African economies caught a cold as China's Coronavirus knocks on the door

Lagos traffic
  • On Friday, the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Sub-Saharan Africa was reported in Nigeria.
  • As the world’s second-largest economy and biggest oil importer, China’s isolation is disrupting trade, businesses, and economies globally, particularly in Africa.
  • China is Africa’s largest investor and as a result of the coronavirus outbreak several African markets have taken a blow.

On Friday, the first confirmed case of Coronavirus in Sub-Saharan Africa was reported in Nigeria.

Nigerian officials said the case involved an Italian citizen who entered the country on 24 February on a Turkish Airlines flight from Milan via Istanbul.

The Nigerian case is just the third to be confirmed in Africa with the other two being in Egypt and Algeria. In Kenya there has been a backlash against the government who allowed the first direct flight from China in two weeks.

Following the public uproar over coronavirus fears China Southern Airlines announced on Friday t was suspending flights to Kenya altogether and cited the low passenger volume on the Nairobi-Changsha-Nairobi route but not after the high court ordered the government to stop flights from China for 10 days, in a case filed by the Law Society of Kenya (LSK).

The deadly virus has so far killed more than 2,337 people and infected more than 80,000 others, mainly in China.

Over 40 airlines around the world have cancelled or suspended flights to China and neighbouring countries in response to the outbreak. Several more have modified their services on other routes as investor alarm over a potential global pandemic continues to deepen stock market losses around the world.

As the world’s second-largest economy and biggest oil importer, China’s isolation is disrupting trade, businesses, and economies globally, particularly in Africa where the Asian powerhouse has a strong presence.

China is Africa’s largest investor and as a result of the coronavirus outbreak several African markets have taken a blow. The country is responsible for over 50 percent of Eritrea’s, zinc and copper ore export, and 45 percent of cobalt export in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

China is Nigeria’s biggest source of imports and Nigeria’s imports from China reached N1.99 trillion in the first half of 2019 and climbed up to N2.2trillion in the third quarter of the year, according to a report by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics.

With most of mainland China on a lockdown, economic activities are slowing, consequently affecting exports to Nigeria.

Oil prices have also dropped by 14% this year due to China’s declining demand for the product. As a result, African countries like Nigeria, South Sudan, and Angola, that are dependent on the revenue generated from the sale of crude oil are already recording losses.

Africa’s second largest economy hasn’t been spared either. South Africa’s seafood market is experiencing a decline in revenue as a result of the coronavirus outbreak in China.

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