Africa and COVID-19: opening up for business!

October 13, 2020

Here we are, halfway through October 2020. Who would have thought that the COVID-19 pandemic would devastate the global economy and its citizens so catastrophically! One thing that stands out quite amazingly is Africa’s lower level of infection and deaths caused by COVID-19. It has staggered experts and their predictions of doom and gloom for this continent of over 1.2 billion people – a population almost equal to that of India! The countries on the continent are also taking stock of what is different and why the impact of this virus has not been worse.

Mystery or magic?

To appreciate this further, as at the beginning of October, India recorded 6.4 million confirmed cases, 5.4 million recovered cases, with 100 thousand fatalities. Africa, by comparison, has recorded 0.9 million confirmed cases 520 thousand recoveries and only 18 thousand fatalities. This is extraordinary as most experts agree.

Youthful population

Current data from WHO-Africa shows that the pandemic has largely affected an older age group. Roughly 91% of COVID-19 infections in sub-Saharan Africa are among people under the age of 60, and more than 80% of cases are asymptomatic. This is far higher than the estimated proportion of asymptomatic cases from studies elsewhere in the world.

Many factors to consider

Many theories and factors abound to explain the lower transmission and disease severity rate on the continent. It might be due to a youthful population, possibly an inherent immunity, temperature and altitude might also be of influence, and it could be the case that the population response is better due to greater experience from HIV, Ebola, and other prevalent diseases. As a consequence of this, people are possibly better prepared for COVID-19. Fact is, the question remains open and still under investigation.

Open for business

South Africa has the highest recorded number of total cases and reported deaths in Africa. The country also has the tenth highest number of cases in the world, but has now seen a significant drop in new cases and could even open up the country to its African neighbors and intra-Africa trade and tourism. However, it must be recognized that South Africa was quick to start intensive testing. The numbers may reflect more realistic statistics than its neighbors, but this does not change the overall relatively small number of fatalities on the continent.

Do not ignore Africa when looking at new markets! The continent will amaze and surprise you, as long as you have determination and the right market entry strategy. Curious how Globally Cool can help you with that? Contact us

By:
Peter Hurst

Experience in and with emerging markets

Since 1995, Globally Cool has trained and coached thousands of professionals, in over 45 emerging markets. Want to know more about what Globally Cool can do for you? Check out our services and join us!

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