Africa Newsletter 04-03-20
East Africa Update
Kenya Battles To Contain Covid-19
Kenya has seen the most cases of Covid-19 in the region as the number has surpassed 100 and with 3 fatalities. The country is also battling to keep the economy operating during a nationwide curfew, closure of businesses and slowdown in those businesses that have remained opened.
The current Covid-19 pandemic has forced the government to start buying stocks of food products to manage any food security challenges. The maize price in Nairobi is now Ksh 3,000 per 90 kg bag.
Uganda In Total Lockdown
Uganda has now reported 45 cases to date and the government has ordered a total lockdown of the country which includes a ban on public transport, a ban on private cars, a curfew, a ban on gatherings, borders closed to passengers and closure of all non-food shops for at least 14 days.
Cargo trucks are exempt from the new guidelines but trade has slowed down from the knock-on effect of the lockdown as many millers and other actors on the agricultural commodities sector have been forced to close or operate at a low level.
Maize is currently trading at UGX 1,200 per kg in Kampala which has also seen maize flour rise from UGX 1,600 per kg to UGX 2,500 in the space of 4 weeks. Soybeans are now trading at UGX 2,000 per kg. The new crop is expected from June and July.
Rwanda and Burundi Governments Close Borders
The governments of Burundi and Rwanda have closed their borders mainly affecting incoming cargo from Kenya and Uganda to Burundi. The two governments have not seen eye to eye recently and even banned citizens of their respective countries from visiting one another.
This has now resulted in trucks in the Mirama Hills border area stuck since the end of March hoping for a solution to the deadlock. Some trucks were carrying sorghum destined for Bujumbura. White sorghum is currently trading at $357 per ton from Uganda.
Malawi Reports First Cases of Covid-19
Malawi was one of the last countries in the region to confirm cases of Covid-19 and the government has introduced measures to contain the spread of the virus including closing all borders to passengers. Cargo trucks will still be allowed to enter and leave the country as the region tries to keep the supply chains, especially for food, continue operating.
Malawi’s new crop is coming into the market and soybeans in Lilongwe are quoted at $380 per ton.