Africa Newsletter: 03-19-20
East Africa Update
Corona Virus In Kenya
As the corona virus continues to cause major disruptions in the global economy, Kenya announced travel restrictions for travellers from countries that have confirmed cases of COVID-19 along with the closure of schools and gatherings in public.
Business at the Port of Mombasa has been significantly affected following the cancellation of 37 ships scheduled to dock this month while the fate of 104 others remain uncertain following an outbreak of coronavirus.
Since the disease was first detected two months ago, essential supplies for East African businesses, especially Small and Medium Enterprises, have been cut off, leaving them fighting to stay afloat.
The border to Uganda remains open for business but delays will affect the flow of trade as travellers queue to undergo screening for the virus.
Uganda Prepares For Lockdown
Uganda remains to be the only country in the region to date without a case of the corona virus but the government has announced a lockdown for one month which will see schools and bars close while banning public gatherings. This will affect the business community as traders have large stocks of maize and soybeans from the recent harvest.
Traders are now open to release more of their grain stocks due to the uncertainty in the coming weeks and months.
Rwanda Government Fixes Prices
The government in Kigali has been proactive in managing the corona virus crisis and have introduced price controls for basic food products in order to avoid price hikes.
Rice is quoted at FRw 750-800 per kg, maize flour at FRw 750-800 per kg, red kidney beans at FRw 600-650, sugar at FRw 800-900 per kg and cooking oil at FRw 1,500-2,200 per litre.
Corona Virus Bites The Region
21 African countries have now confirmed cases of the COVID-19 virus.
Ethiopia introduced its own raft of fresh restrictions Monday, closing schools and suspending large gatherings like sporting events. The country, the most populous in the region with 100 million people, has five confirmed cases of corona virus.
Somalia, meanwhile, also confirmed its first case of corona virus and announced a ban on international flights in and out of the country, starting from Wednesday.