The pandemic should not take our freedoms too.

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By FTN Editorial Team

As at the time of writing this, there are 22,333 confirmed coronavirus cases in Africa and 1,125 coronavirus deaths.

When compared to cases in other countries, these figures show that the health crisis does not so severely hit Africa nations, yet, the implications on its economy are grave and catastrophic. 

For the first time in 25 years, sub-Saharan Africa is about to go into recession, according to World Bank estimates. Following 2.4 percent growth last year, the forecast for 2020 is between -2.1 and -5.1 percent as the economy contracts.  

This is, in part, a knock-on effect from the economic hits taken by Africa’s main trading partners: China, the EU, and the United States.

There is also a slump in the critical markets of raw materials like oil, coffee, gold, cotton, cocoa, and so on. These, when coupled with the effect of the current stay-at-home measures, adds salt to injury for Africans. 

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected that GDP per capita will shrink across 170 nations due to the coronavirus pandemic. Still, the projection “may be a more optimistic picture than reality produces.”

The African Union estimates that around 20 million jobs, in formal and informal sectors, are under threat. This means that African nations must deploy strategies that will save the lives and livelihoods of its people as there must be a balance between public health and economic survival. 

Since the lockdown started in Nigeria on the 30th of March, the Nigerian Human Rights Commission reported that law enforcement agents have extrajudicially executed 18 persons to enforce the regulations. Whereas, there have been 21 coronavirus deaths in the country. 

As governments continue to exert restrictions and often abusive controls in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is becoming critical that people shun the allure of power and stand for greater human freedom even in the face of a monstrous health crisis.

By Lanre Peter