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Sustainable Development in Africa after the Coronavirus: Required Reforms

Shawgei Salah Ahmed – Khartoum

The coronavirus pandemic; a global spread of a new disease that has affected many countries. Some point out that the term “pandemic” also means a disease which cannot be controlled, explaining its spread internationally and its inability to be confined to one country.

The definition of a pandemic indicates a political aspect, by conveying a message to governments and organizations around the world that the disease has had economic repercussions, political and social on a global scale.

 To discuss this topic, first we need a conceptual framework that defines the framework in which to discuss the complex and intertwining factors of the disease.

First, there is an important factor that is economic epidemiology, the field in which epidemiology intersects with economics. The significance of this is to integrate incentives for healthy behavior and their accompanying behavioral responses into the epidemiological context to form a better understanding of how diseases are transmitted.

As it is assumed in this context, it helps to improve the policy in response to epidemic diseases by giving policymakers and health care providers clear tools for thinking about how certain behaviors affect the extent of disease outbreaks.

Second, the state of emergency, the result of an imbalance between the basic needs of the population – especially in the field of health, but also in the field of security – and the services available to meet those needs.

Coronavirus: Changes in the Reality of Sustainable Development in Africa

On the social level

The quarantine experiment constituted a new reality for the African society, which relied heavily on tribal solidarity.

 Even societies in major cities depend heavily on each other, but the sudden and unprepared change in it makes individuals and societies in need of urgent psychological support and information provision on how to overcome these fears.

These fears include, but are not limited to, fear of contracting illness and death, of avoiding medical care in health facilities for fear of contracting the virus, of losing livelihoods, of being dismissed from work, of social exclusion such as racism against people who belong to or are believed to belong to affected areas.

The feeling of being unable to protect those close to and fear of losing them due to infection with the virus, a feeling of helplessness, boredom, loneliness and depression due to isolation, fear of reviving the experience of passing in a previous epidemic distress, all the previous manifestations affect the mental health of the individual.

 This is reflected in the collective mind of society, as it takes a long time to avoid the negative effects and restore society again towards production and recovery from the social problems caused by the disease.

On the environmental level

 It is not necessarily negative in its entirety. One of the positive aspects of the corona virus is that it was able to reduce the rates of pollution, as it paralyzed sources of pollution like factories, car movements, air traffic and irregular movements of humans in nature, especially In forests and humid areas, which causes disturbances to living organisms.

 In China and Italy, industrial areas had shown strong declines in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) against a decrease in industrial activity and vehicle traffic.

 This is not surprising given that vehicles industry is the main source of NO2, and when these sources are fundamentally transformed, the atmosphere will improve rapidly, with an increase in demand for water and electricity for isolated areas in cities.

 In general, the large economic and industrial activity in China and Europe cannot be compared with the economic and industrial activity in Africa, but nevertheless there is a significant impact of air pollution in Africa on the lives of Africans because, death rates from air pollution are equal to the death rates from AIDS.

There are many initiatives seeking to fight AIDS and malaria, but the fight against air pollution is not as important in the African continent, although the problem is global, but treatments at the level of Africa are required to reduce the rates.

Indoor places from the use of solid fuels and outdoor air pollution in cities are responsible for 3.1 million premature deaths globally each year.

On the economic level

There are three main influencing tracks, the first of which is the expected slowdown of the Chinese economy and the consequent impacts on import and export to and from China in terms of raw materials and food.

The second indicator is reflected in the general recession in the global economy with the shortage of oil prices that will affect countries Like Nigeria and Algeria.

The third indicator indicates that all countries of the world will focus on internal challenges, which leads to a severe shortage of foreign aid that Africa can benefit from in maintaining the deterioration of the African economy.

Table No. 1 shows the development aid received by Africa, which is expected to stop in the coming period, meaning Africa must rely on itself if it wants to live in this world that only recognizes the logic of power, and the most vulnerable African countries include Angola, Congo, Sierra Leone, Lesotho and Zambia.

 Angola exports 60% of its goods to China. The damage is reflected in the indirect economic impact of the coronavirus on global economic sentiment that has already resulted in a 20% drop in oil prices, and 7% copper since the outbreak.

Reforms needed in the near Future

Food security

All the initial calls indicate the importance of achieving food security for the African continent through self-sufficiency in primary food commodities.

 The UN official expressed her concerns about a food crisis in Africa, the fact that one-third of the countries of the African continent import their basic foods, which is a dangerous indicator in terms of food security.

 It is worth noting that a world is moving towards self-reliance and there is no consolation for any country that cannot grow enough food for it, and the continent can activate agreements that would lead to joint economic integration.

Health system reform

Africa will need about $ 10.6 billion to meet unexpected increases in health spending to curb the spread of the virus, while revenue losses will lead to unaffordable debts.

 The continent, collectively or separately, needs to implement ongoing reforms in the health sector in terms of quantity by increasing cadres.

Health integrated in the health activities of countries, in terms of quality, with continuous training on new techniques and technologies for doctors and nurses, increasing awareness campaigns to avoid diseases and the involvement of civil society organizations in this regard.

 In addition to expanding the establishment of highly equipped hospitals and distributing them to the region in order to shorten the distance for health service recipients and ensure that patients are not overcrowded in the capital due to poor services provided in the states and the region.

Infrastructure to cope with health disasters

  One of the great lessons that the Corona pandemic provided to the world as a whole and Africa in particular was to arrange development priorities, and to pay equal attention to health infrastructure sector as work infrastructure and other sectors.

 The challenge of confronting Corona has shed light on the need for more investments. In the public health infrastructure, an outbreak could place a significant burden on international health systems that was already under great pressure to tackle AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and a host of other conditions.

Defense system for disaster and crisis front

Not only the infrastructure of the health system. We need prompt development to an integrated system to defend against disasters and health and unhealthy crises, in terms of legislation, administrative systems, governmental and non-governmental organizations participating, volunteers from the human force, etc…

 Entering in the event of disasters and crises needs early preparation and maximum preparedness at all times, because emergencies or crises are characterized by limited access to adequate food and safe water, as well as interruptions in health and nutrition services and restrictions to protect, promote and support young children and infants, and all vulnerable segments of society who bear the largest part of the consequences of disasters.

Common African Market

One of the lessons that must be learned is the concern for production and self-reliance in order to cover the expected trade gap with China, as the trade volume between China and Africa increased from 10.8 billion dollars in 2001, to 198.49 billion US dollars in 2012, to 222 billion dollars in 2014.

 With these numbers expected to double by 2025, this can be accomplished by activating intra-trade on the African continent, and it is hoped that the African Free Trade Area, the largest of its kind since the establishment of the World Trade Organization in 1994, will contribute to unleashing Africa’s economic potential after a prolonged stumbling block.

Intra-African trade accounted for only 17 percent of exports in 2017, compared to 59 percent in Asia and 69 percent in Europe, where Africa lagged behind the economic booms of other business conglomerates in recent decades.

In the end, the spread of diseases in Africa incurs many losses in lives. Decision makers have the opportunity to start over and make difficult decisions in order to put Africa in the right direction in all social, economic and environmental fields, or at least this is what we hope will be.

Shawgei Salah can be contacted at Shwgy2000@gmail.com

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