How the Coronavirus will Impact Infrastructure, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals



China has focused on sub-Saharan Africa in the past few years, and between the years of 2014 and 2017, Chinese policy banks loaned $19 billion to infrastructure and energy projects within Africa. More specifically, in the context of China’s need for natural resources and in line with the Belt and Road Initiative.

The Belt and Road Initiative aims to link Africa, Asia and Europe, but COVID-19 has significantly impacted activity around this initiative. A recent report by Baker McKensie and Economist Corporate Network states that in order for BRI to remain a key player in global infrastructure development, the core of the initiative must be set around sustainability. This sustainability must encompass the protection of the health of not only those involved in the initiative but the communities surrounding the projects currently underway.

Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals

COVID-19 is expected to place a significant amount of strain on the ill-prepared healthcare system in Africa due to the lack of medical supplies and laboratory capacity. However, the World Health Organisation stated that they are equipping 36 African countries with virus testing kits, aided in training healthcare workers, and provide personal protective equipment to healthcare workers. In addition, African countries are establishing quarantine centres and stocking up on medical supplies.

The global pharmaceutical sector is being exhausted with the increased demand for pharmaceutical ingredients resulting in a shortage of these ingredients, if available at all because of factory closures and supply chain disruptions.

Conclusively, the global supply chain is impacting major sectors, and the effects are not only isolated to one continent. China is a key player in the global supply chain, and with the plateau of COVID-19 cases throughout, the effects of the spreading virus throughout Africa will hopefully not be as severe as it would be if China did not have the virus under control. Africa is not a lost cause, nor should investors and businesses pull out of the continent, as all continents are being severely impacted. The decreased prices in certain sectors should be viewed as an opportunity when the predictions for the time span and impact are more solid and reliable.

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