Corona Watch

30 March 2020 | Economics

South Africa

South Africa may approach the International Monetary Fund and World Bank for funding to fight the coronavirus that threatens to drag the country's economy deeper into recession, finance minister Tito Mboweni said in the Sunday Times newspaper.

On Friday, the country lost its last investment-grade credit rating when Moody's downgraded South Africa to junk, citing persistently weak growth, fast-rising debt and the impact of an unreliable electricity supply.

The latest downgrade will see South Africa kicked out of the benchmark World Government Bond Index (WGBI) of local-currency debt, triggering up to US$11 billion of forced selling, analysts estimate. – Nampa/Reuters

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe will impose a nationwide lockdown for 21 days from today to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, and security forces may be deployed to enforce it, president Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Friday. – Nampa/Reuters

Kenya

Nurses in Kenya's capital and at least two towns have launched protests or refused to treat suspected coronavirus patients because the government has not given them enough protective gear or training, a medical union chief said.

Only a fraction of Kenya's estimated 100 000 healthcare workers had received any instruction in how to protect themselves, Seth Panyako, the secretary general of the Kenya National Union of Nurses, told Reuters. – Nampa/Reuters

Nigeria

Nigeria has appealed to private companies to make voluntary contributions towards the 120 billion naira (US$330 million) that the government says it needs to fight the coronavirus epidemic.

The crash in oil prices, which have fallen by nearly two- thirds this year due in large part to a coronavirus-induced demand collapse, has seriously battered Nigeria's finances.

Finance minister Zainab Ahmed last week pledged 6.5 billion naira to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, and a further 10 billion naira for Lagos state, which has the bulk of the nation's confirmed cases. – Nampa/Reuters

Ethiopia

Ethiopia's National Bank plans to inject 15 billion Ethiopian birr (US$456 million) as liquidity for private banks, part of government measures to cushion the economy over the impact of the coronavirus, the prime minister's office said on Friday.

The government said it will implement tax exemptions for imports of products related to curbing the coronavirus outbreak and make foreign currency available for importers. – Nampa/Reuters

Tunisia

The European Union has granted Tunisia 250 million euros in aid to help it cope with the economic and social effects of the coronavirus outbreak, EU ambassador Patrice Bergamini said on Saturday in a tweet.

Prime minister Elyes Fakhfakh has said the government was allocating US$850 million to combat the economic and social effects of the health crisis.

The International Monetary Fund will disburse US$400 million to help the country face the effects of the crisis, finance minister Nizar Yaich has said. – Nampa/Reuters

Morocco

Morocco will spend an initial 2 billion dirhams (US$200 million) to help its health system cope with the coronavirus outbreak, the finance ministry said on

Friday as the number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 333.

It will spend the money on 1 000 more intensive care beds, 550 ventilators and 100 000 testing kits, as well as medicine and other equipment, the ministry added.

The government has put 1 billion dirhams into a special fund for its coronavirus response, which has been topped up with private donations. – Nampa/Reuters

Algeria

Algeria will impose a night curfew in nine more provinces to limit the spread of the coronavirus, the prime minister's office said on Friday.

Earlier last week the government imposed a night curfew in the capital and a full lockdown in the neighbouring province of Blida. – Nampa/Reuters

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