Namibia begins to open up, while other countries feel the effects of COVID-19
On May 29, Namibia announced that it would further ease coronavirus-related restrictions beginning June 2. The move from level two to level three of its four-level lockdown system will permit schools to resume face-to-face classes, restaurants to receive sit-down customers, and gatherings of up to 50 people to take place. Of Africa’s nearly 130,000 confirmed cases, Namibia has just 22 of them. The country’s swift response, which has resulted in zero deaths to date, has garnered international praise. On March 13, with only two confirmed cases of COVID-19, Namibia declared a state of emergency and banned inbound and outbound travel from Doha and Addis Ababa. Eleven days later, the country instituted stricter measures, including banning travel into the country for 30 days, permitting only those whose mission was “critical to the national interest” into the country after serving a mandatory and supervised 14-day quarantine.
Restrictions in other countries in the region remain in place. Some fear that disrupted supply chains following coronavirus restrictions may exacerbate food insecurity in West Africa. The Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel (CILSS) found that, since the onset of virus-related restrictions, West African traders have seen business decline between 10 and 30 percent, a drop driven in significant part by disrupted transport. The time to travel from southern Mali to Dakar, Senegal, a popular trade route, has more than doubled since restrictions have come into effect. Consequently, the United Nations has predicted that the food-insecure population of West Africa could double to 43 million.
The coronavirus continues to impact those in the public light. The brother of ousted Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and three other high-ranking officials of the old regime are being treated for COVID-19. The officials, who were being held in Khartoum prisons as they awaited their trials at the International Criminal Court (ICC), include Ahmed Haroun, the former minister of state for humanitarian affairs; Abdelrahim Hussein, the former minister of National Defense; and Ali Osman Taha, the former first vice president. On the other side of the Sahel, Aliou Sarr, the brother of Senegalese President Macky Sall and Mayor of Guédiawaye, has tested positive for the virus.
Countries call for investigation of AfDB president months before election
The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Board of Governors has agreed to an independent investigation of its president, Akinwumi Adesina, after the U.S., Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and Finland wrote to the AfDB to request an external probe. Adesina, who was previously exonerated by the AfDB’s ethics committee of claims of favoritism and nepotism, has denied any wrongdoing.