The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) has recently released its Economic and Social Impacts of Covid-19 in Eastern Africa report, estimating that only four countries of the block will experience positive growth in 2020.
The report analyzes the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in 14 African countries: Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.
Presenting the report during the 24thMeeting of the Intergovernmental Committee of Senior Officials and Experts, Mama Keita, UNECA Sub-regional Office for Eastern Africa, said that the region’s GDP growth will slow down considerably to 0.6% in 2020 from 6.6% in 2019.
Only four countries will experience positive growth in 2020: South Sudan with a GDP growth of 4.1%, Ethiopia and Tanzania with 2% growth, and Kenya with 1% growth.
In June 2020, the World Bank (WB) estimated that Tanzania’s GDP will grow 2.5% in 2020.
The UNECA report explains that while East Africa has generally been adversely affected by the crisis, the impact has been more severe for countries dependent on tourism, particularly Seychelles and Kenya where tourist arrivals were down 94% and 91% between August 2020 and August 2019.
Covid-19 in East Africa and Tanzania
The East African region is one of the least affected on the continent. As of October 2020, most countries of the block had confirmed infection and death rates significantly below the continental average. However, the rate of testing is also relatively low.
In June 2020, Tanzanian President John Magufuli declared the country free of Covid-19.
However, the Tanzanian authorities last provided coronavirus figures in April 2020, and Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the lack of transparency about the public health situation in Tanzania since the start of the pandemic.