The European Business Council for Africa

Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni this week said he expects the country’s tourism industry to lose $1.6bn in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tourism was the country’s main foreign exchange earner in 2017 according to government data, bringing in $1.45bn - putting the $1.6bn figure into context.

Uganda isn’t the only place feeling the pain.

Africa can mount a stronger COVID-19 response strategy by using regional trade blocs to coordinate, consolidate, and connect resources across the continent.

The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, on Thursday issued a statement rejecting a series of 16 accusations against him, alleging cronyism and corruption under his stewardship.

This follows revelations of a falling out with the U.S. government (a major shareholder), which had rejected the findings of an internal inquiry clearing him of any wrongdoing, and calling for a new, independent investigation.

As African leaders slammed the brakes on economic activities and put their countries or cities into lockdown to block the spread of the coronavirus, businesses and jobs were collapsing into intensive care and could be among the biggest casualties of the health crisis. 

This year’s Top 250 Companies survey highlights the overall carnage in African share valuations in the last few years and even more so in March 2020. The survey ranks African or Africa-focused companies listed on public securities exchanges according to their market valuation, also known as “market capitalisation”.

With over 60 percent of the African continent’s population in rural areas and dependent on smallholder or family farming, the risk from the COVID-19 pandemic to food supply chains, market access and nutrition is high. Lockdown measures have disrupted internal supply chains halting food production. Locust swarms continue to devastate crops in East Africa.

While most cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus have been reported in the U.S. , Europe, and China, the virus is spreading rapidly across the African continent.

The confirmed worldwide cases for the virus have surpassed four million with the current figure being at 5,269,965.

China’s president Xi Jinping “needs Africa more than ever” as Beijing faces a backlash in the West over its alleged role in the coronavirus crisis, a CNN article informs us this week.

It goes on to say that its relationship with Africa is at a “critical and precarious juncture”, citing a letter by African ambassadors last month criticizing the treatment of African residents in China.

The sentiment is part of efforts - mostly by the media and some governments in the West - to peddle the narrative that the coronavirus pandemic has exposed tensions in the China-Africa relationship, putting it on shaky ground.

This ongoing health emergency should push us all to look at new ways to take better care of ourselves and the environment.

Very pertinent in this respect is the so-called One Health approach. The idea is to connect humans, animals, plants and the environment to prevent diseases spilling over to humans. Our latest brief outlines four necessary ingredients for this to happen: (1) a global arrangement for systematic coordination between food and other thematic institutions, (2) the right combination of public and private investment, (3) a one-year roadmap culminating in the 2021 UN Food System Summit, and (4) a combined leadership by three European presidencies of various international bodies – the 2021 Climate Adaptation Summit, G7, G20 and COP26.

COVID-19 has firmly set foot in Africa, affecting all African countries. There is already plenty of material that analyses the European response to the Corona pandemic. But less is known about the quality of the responses on the African continent. We have published a paper examining the different roles played by the African Union and a sample of regional organisations in shaping coordinated responses to COVID-19.

The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung's (FES) Africa Department and EU Office cordially invite you to the second webinar in our  series "What’s the offer? A new partnership between Europe and Africa". In the first webinar we discussed the ongoing renewal of the partnership between Europe and Africa and the impacts of the pandemic on it. In case you missed it, you can watch the recording here.

In 2020, the nature of the cooperation between the European Union and Africa is being negotiated and might profoundly change: a new EU-Sahel Strategy, a new EU-Africa Strategy, the EU-AU summit in autumn, the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, the development of new finance instruments – all against the background of a shaky multilateralism an the challenges posed by the corona crisis. An opportunity to raise the partnership to »a new level«? An opportunity to address not only issues such as security, migration, hunger and poverty but also sustainability, the empowerment of women and youth and fair trade?