Africa Dodged the Worst of COVID-19, Except When It Comes to Its Economies

Africa Dodged the Worst of COVID-19, Except When It Comes to Its Economies
A passenger waits at the departure hall of the Murtala Mohammed Airport in Lagos, Nigeria, July 9, 2020 (AP photo by Sunday Alamba).

Editor’s Note: Every Friday, Andrew Green curates the top news and analysis from and about the African continent.

African leaders used this week’s virtual United Nations General Assembly to call for international support to help their economies recover from the coronavirus pandemic, pressing for debt cancellation and up to $100 billion in annual support over the next three years.

From a health perspective, the continent appears to have withstood the pandemic better than many experts predicted, registering just 5 percent of global cases and 3.6 percent of deaths. But economies across Africa have been battered by the extraordinary measures that governments took to slow the spread of the virus. South Africa saw its economy contract by 51 percent in the second quarter of the year, and Zambia has started to default on its debt. The continent is predicted to fall into its first recession in a quarter century.

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