In 2019, towards the end of the year, a new virus was identified in the Wuhan. On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was told about several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan –a city in the Chinese province of Hubei- caused by a so-far unknown viral agent. According to health authorities, the CODVID-19 disease is caused by a novel coronavirus from a wide family of viral pathogens that cause severe pathologies such as the common cold and the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The virus has spread to some countries in Asia and other parts of Europe, the latest being Italy. In Africa, Burkina Faso becomes the sixth sub-saharan African country to report positive tests for coronavirus. On 11th March, 2020, an article in the Daily Graphic indicated that there are now 100 confirmed Coronavirus cases across Africa, the BBC has reported. The World Health Organization, governments, and other international bodies must be commended for their efforts in containing the virus.
CODVID-19 has affected the economic activities of one of the largest economies in the world, China. Mr Jojo K. Bannerman, Executive Director of Financial Market Sales at Standard Chartered Bank Ghana in an interview with the Daily Graphic has said that this could lead to a global economic recession if measures are not out in place to curb the outbreak as soon as possible.
There are two sides to everything, the good and the bad. The bad side: The CODVID-19 led to about a number of deaths across the world. I sympathize with people across the world who are suffering, have suffered, or have lost someone to the virus. Some schools in China, Japan and Italy have been temporarily closed down due to the virus. Serie A matches and some champions League matches will be played behind closed doors. These are attempts to reduce the spread of the virus. Most corporations and manufacturing firms in the affected countries have been temporarily shut down. Productivity of these countries will fall drastically, leading to a fall in GDP.
There is still no confirmed case of the virus in Ghana. Ghana imports heavily from China, which is worse affected by the CODVID-19. China is the largest supplier of imports to Ghana and thus, Ghana will be affected one way or the other. The country can however, focus on the positives that can be derived from the outbreak.
Since the outbreak of the virus, it has been reported that the Ghana Cedi has performed well against the Dollar in the short run. This can largely be attributed to the fall in demand for the Dollar for imports. In simple terms, with a fall in demand for the Dollar, the price (exchange rate) will fall thus leading to an appreciation of the Ghana Cedi. This is an indication that more imports lead to depreciation of the Ghana Cedi. Thus, policies must be put in place to promote our export.
Local industries can take advantage of the situation. There are things we import from China that can be produced locally. Local industries with the capacity can increase their productivity for such commodities. This is an opportunity for local producers of foodstuffs (especially, rice), textiles, beverages, plastics, chemical products, general goods, etc. to boost production. This can help prevent shortages leading to increase in prices in the near future if the situation in China continues. The excess could be exported to other countries to earn some foreign exchange.
Even though CODVID-19 has some negatives, for us as a nation, we can focus on the positives, take advantage of the situation and reap the benefits.
Frimpong Mansoh Cobbina
GBC Radio Central
Email: [email protected]