guest column:Emmanuel Nnadozie

The COVID-19 pandemic is a major crisis for the continent. For us to better understand its economic impact, we need to see the three dimensions of this pandemic.

First is the impact of the disease itself on communities, individuals, nations and regions.

The second is the economic and social impact of the response to the pandemic and the mitigation measures that have been put in place, and third is the challenge of post-COVID-19 recovery and reconstruction.

According to various estimates, the pandemic has caused and will continue to have a severe impact on the economies of African countries.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has estimated a loss in gross domestic product (GDP) of between US$22 billion and US$88 billion.

This is a very serious challenge for the continent as it has direct impact on economic activity and productive capacity through inflation and debt.

So far, we have seen disruptions in trade and value chains and there has been a sharp decline in the prices of primary commodities.

As such, this is an opportunity to think about diversifying and transforming African economies to bring about more resilience.

There is also a reduction in financial flows in terms of investment and diaspora remittances.

Foreign aid and tourism have been hit hard because of the travel bans and lockdowns put in place by various governments to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has been directly affected by the lockdowns and we find ourselves unable to function at full capacity.

This affects our ability to support our member States, our non-State actors, and all the institutions at country, regional and continental levels where we build the capacity of institutions and provide technical skills that are needed to bring about economic transformation.

To overcome this obstacle, the ACBF has resorted to innovative ways of building capacity without physically travelling to any specific country on the continent.

Although demand for our services remains huge, our ability to service it is challenged by the insufficiency, unpredictability and sustainability of funding.

We are continuously grateful to our member States and partners for their support and call on them to continue investing in their ACBF.

This serious support is critical now than ever, as COVID-19 continues to threaten the gains made towards the realisation of Agenda 2063.

Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie is an executive secretary at African Capacity Building Foundation. He writes here in his personal capacity.

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