COVID 19 – AFRICAN LOCKDOWN NOW?

Global leaders in their quest to fight COVID-19 have put in place different measures to ensure the safety of their Citizens. Africa in recent times has had questions asked of its precautions to fight the virus spread in all the 55 States.

South Africa, DRC, Rwanda and Tunisia to date are the only nations in Africa that have announced full-scale citizen lockdown. The fact that only 3 of 55 nations have taken these measures is truly sad and unacceptable. Based on this, leadership in the African Union (AU) is placed under considerable interrogation and severe pressure.

President Cyril Pamaphosa announced a 21-day national Lockdown for South Africa starting midnight 26th of March. It is also common knowledge that President of South Africa is also the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) and has the responsibility to show the same leadership for the country at AU level to the other African states. Today there is no rhythm in Africa’s band as the players seem to be concerned about the sound of their instruments more than cohesion into producing a great song.

The opportunity for Africa, to defend itself against the mass spread of COVID-19 is imminent and now. Leaders will now be judged and remembered for what they did in the time knowing the cause and effect of this pandemic. Africa, from current statistics, lags behind the world-known infections if you compare it to Europe and Asia for example. No doubt​, ​the time has come to take drastic measures to ensure that Africa keeps the spread of the COVID-19 to its bare minimum.

Africa has had the global picture well in advance and no person can deny that the worldwide channels of communication are not effective enough. On all street corners, social gatherings that still take place, the only topic today is COVID-19. The fact that this pandemic crosses all borders, religions, cultures and social classes and has no distinction between rich and poor, is a fact.

The challenges though in Africa is so obvious but needs to be brought up repetitively, but history has shown us it is sadly not done enough. Most African people on the continent are poor, have less access to basic sanitation and no doubt hygiene. The other problem and challenges facing us are that a huge number of Africans are uneducated and thus make the education process on fighting the spread of COVID 19 more difficult.

The huge movement of basic supplies to combat the COVID virus needs to be led by the AU. As of current actions, we also find a huge collective gap coming from an AU central COVID command structure, health updates led aggressively by the AU and indeed if there was such, the promotion, media and continued guidance would be poor if not indeed sad. Leaders must take a collective decision and must make these not to be popular but be secure and in defence of its people. More than one billion people on the continent are in need now of action not talk.

The fact that we have a central body for Africa called the AU, was surely created for such pandemics and the united approach to combat such. Simple daily stats on 55 countries spread and indeed actions to curb it, is needed. Gross public panic versus informing our people needs balance, but global trends like received from the US, Italy, etc are vital.

The question will remain today, apart from lack of a continental lockdown, are we settling supplies for states in Africa for example masks, gloves, and sanitizer stock. I know that we are maybe asking for a form of a federal central state approach, but there is no better method and time to Unite Africa than in this crisis. Africa LOCKDOWN NOW OR NEVER !!!

 

 

Corona Virus – The African Perspective

Over the past few weeks, African governments have been holding on tight and asking themselves hard questions concerning the effects of the spread of the virus into Africa. The Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta stated that the worry was not on the ability of China to manage the virus but effects on the countries with poor health systems. Today African Governments are forced to look at the decisions they have made previously in addressing public service offering whereas citizens are getting comfort in having the same health facility at their disposal as the Government Officials. African Political Leaders have been over the past travelling to Malaysia, China, India, and other countries to get special medical assistance and now that the global lockdown is active, they get to face the music with exposure to the same quality health infrastructure as their citizens.

As of Monday 16 March 2020 the countries most affected in Africa with Covid-19 include Egypt with 126 confirmed cases,2 deaths, South Africa with 61 infected, no deaths, Algeria with 48 infected,4 deaths and among the lowest infected countries there are Botswana, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, South Sudan, Chad, Somalia and Others with zero cases.

        The Corona Belt Cases recorded and Severity                   The Dominant Flight Routes Network

From the African perspective countries with the greatest connectivity routes wise and passenger compliment in Africa is Cairo (Egypt) and OR Tambo (South Africa) which make 1st and 2ND most affected countries in Africa. Do these figures explain severity according to infrastructure and level of development? The question may not be easy to answer but today the need to contain and reduce the spread remains a top priority as we do not know the severity of the African context with regards to the strength of our economies, health services, and infrastructure.

The effects of the outbreak are undoubtedly devastating to Africa more than anywhere else in the World as Africa is a net importer and relies on Imports from China, India, Europe, and America. With the largest sectors dominated by small scale businesses affected by the inability to procure raw materials and markets outside Africa due to the imposed lockdown, Africa’s vulnerability remains immense and beyond measure. The recent developments that have highlighted that the virus can be passed on before symptoms can be detected are nothing to undermine. Only a handful of countries have the ability and facilities to test for the Coronavirus in labs and the World Health Organization hopes that the number may reach half by month-end.

The state of health facilities Is a mere reflection of the effects that are yet to come. In 2016 the top 5 killers in the world according to the World Health Organisation were:

Rank Top 5 causes of Death (Africa) Top 5 causes of Death (World) Top 5 Causes of Death

(Low-income countries)

1 Lower respiratory tract infections Ischaemic heart disease Lower respiratory tract infections
2 HIV/AIDS Stroke Diarrhea
3 Diarrhea Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Ischaemic heart disease
4 Ischaemic heart disease Lower respiratory tract infections HIV/AIDS
5 Parasites and vector-borne diseases Alzheimer disease Stroke

Africa and Low-income countries have been haunted in the past with high mortality rates from respiratory tract infections. If the major killers from 2016 are still in action, Africa maybe in far much more trouble as this will add on to an existing family of killers. Covid-19 has been known to attack the old, sick and weak, which makes Sub Saharan Africa’s exposure up to 5% as the population of the elderly (+65) is only 5% of the total population.

Today the slogan and change in lifestyle required to contain and manage the spread of the Covid-19 need the support of an enabling environment that works in favour of the people and not of the virus. Mother nature has already proven to be on Africa’s side already as the humidity and temperature are too high than the most severely affected countries and regions.

The above diagram is a true reflection of the population distribution and vulnerability, as this shows that Asia (Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western) where the virus emerged from has the oldest population of more than 44% hence the cases are more fatal. The same can be said for Europe and North America which also have an ageing population of up to 29% of its population.

Despite efforts being made to reduce the panic and detrimental effects that Covid-19 has had globally, Social Media and Technology have not been helping as these platforms have perpetrated more than enough panic attacks in communities, cities, and countries.

Africa remains greatly exposed to the threats brought about by the spread of the virus but mostly because of the capacity to process information and resources for research on the matters of the pandemic. The lacking infrastructure such as access to electricity which hinders communication in education and awareness on the virus and access to water and resources which are essential for hygiene purposes. These are just but a few problems that Africa has, and the next two months will be key in determining the fate of Africa.

Egypt – A land of mysteries

Egypt also is known as the Arab Republic of Egypt is a country in North Africa with great significance in the history of humankind. The oldest surviving work in mathematics was written by the ancient Egyptian scribe Ahmes around 1650 B.C. Found on the Rhine Mathematical Papyrus, it is titled “The Entrance into the Knowledge of All Existing Things and All Obscure Secrets. The ancient Egyptians were the first people to have a year consisting of 365 days divided into 12 months who also invented clocks.

The ancient Greek historian Herodotus called Egypt “the gift of the Nile”. This mighty river Nile, which flows north from the heart of Africa to the Mediterranean Sea is Egypt’s pride. For the ancient Egyptians, the Nile was mysterious. Unlike most other rivers, it flows south to north, it floods in the summer, and no one knew where the water came from. Explorers discovered the source of the Nile in East Africa just 150 years ago. Mystery surrounds Egypt’s origin, its religion, and its monumental architecture: colossal temples, enormous Sphinx and the pyramids which are the only remaining wonder of the seven wonders of the ancient world. Even though Mexico, not Egypt, has the largest pyramid in the world in terms of volume, Egypt’s Great Pyramid of Cheops at Giza remains popular than The Cholula Pyramid (sometimes referred to as Quetzalcoatl) of Mexico which was built around the year A.D. 100.

Today, Egypt is the world’s most populous Arab country and the third most populous nation in Africa, (Nigeria 1st and Ethiopia 2nd). Located in the north-eastern corner of Africa, where Africa and Asia meet, it links the Muslim countries of southwest Asia with those of North Africa. Cairo is Egypt’s capital and the largest city and the largest city in Africa. Situated on both banks of the Nile, it is Egypt’s commercial and cultural Centre as well as the seat of government. Egypt’s second most important waterway is the Suez Canal, which links the Mediterranean Sea with the Gulf of Suez, an arm of the Red Sea. The canal is one of the world’s chief commercial waterways. The canal and the Isthmus of Suez are the traditional boundaries between Africa and Asia.

Egypt’s economy was highly centralized during the rule of former President Gamal Abdel NASSER but opened considerably under former Presidents Anwar EL-SADAT and Mohamed Hosni MUBARAK. Agriculture, hydrocarbons, manufacturing, tourism, and other service sectors drove the country’s relatively diverse economic activity. Egypt’s economy is growing rapidly. Gross domestic product (GDP) grew to 5.6% in the third quarter of 2019 against 5.4% in the same period of 2017-2018. The North African state is now targeting 6% GDP growth in the 2019/20 fiscal year which runs from 1st July to 30th June. The country’s economic freedom score is 52.5, making it’s economy the 144th freest in 2019 and is ranked 11th among 14 countries in the Middle East and North Africa region. The single biggest donor of Egypt is the US government, which has provided more than USD 25 billion in economic assistance since 1975.

On the “Neil economic scale”, a can of coke cost 3.50 EGP (R 3,18) and the price of litre petrol is 8.75 EGP (R 7,96). Though Egypt’s inflation rate annual inflation rate dropped to 2.4 percent in October 2019 marking the lowest annual inflation rate in recent records. The inflation rate plunged from 17.5 percent in October 2018 to 2.4 percent in October 2019.

It is amazing to imagine that an ancient civilization like Egypt’s invented toothpaste, paper as well as keys and locks. The Egyptians are intelligent people with a glorious history which has left a mark on civilization and we continue to celebrate it through counting and time. We question whether the land of mysteries is a part of this world or a portal to another dimension of life imagine before Facebook came to Egypt to showcase user identification, forensic fingerprint powder had been used for fingerprints, yip, the world’s oldest synthetic pigment produced by yours truly – ancient Egyptians, proud Africa.