MOSCOW, July 17. /TASS/. The coronavirus pandemic and disruption of the OPEC+ deal talks have significantly weakened African economies which require significant help, Nataliya Zaiser, Valdai Internation Discussion Club expert and Chair of the Africa Business Initiative Union Board, told TASS Friday.
"The pandemic introduced major changes <…>, throwing Africa back by ten years. Suspension of the air travel is one of the key factors. In turn, this directly affects key revenue sectors of African states, such as international tourism, business and production exports," she noted.
Zaiser pointed out that the pandemic affected many sectors of the African economy, including agricultural imports and exports, textile industry, tourism, international transportation and energy. "South Africa, as a leader in the infection spreading on the continent, is keeping international and domestic borders shut, which significantly hinders the return of tourist flows into neighboring countries - Mozambique, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. Even if these countries have their own airports, their scales are incomparable," the expert added.
Another negative factor that further undermines the situation is the disruption of OPEC+ negotiations this March, since energy and infrastructure are the key industries for oil producers of Africa which their neighbors depend on. "The disruption of the OPEC+ deal talks, which unfortunately coincided with coronavirus, heavily affected economies of Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, Libya and other countries. Some foreign companies started selling off their assets in Africa. This means an outflow of investments, a significant blow to the already-weak and insufficient energy system of African states and waning social support for populations," the expert explained.
Another challenge facing the countries on the continent is the national debts that need to be paid off to international credit organization such as the IMF and the World Bank, as well as budgets allocated by Europeans, Zaiser believes. "Despite the fact that the European Union periodically declares the need to back Africa, financial flows and conditions for funds to be transferred can be significantly reviewed," she added.