Namibia Logistics Association

2020/08 Coronavirus and the World Economy

Coronavirus and the World Economy

The coronavirus has arrived in the most remote place of the World and 210 countries and territories are affected. Namibia has now 16 cases and South Africa 5 350. China reported that their economy starts to normalize. Namibia is in its 27th day of a total lockdown and this was extended to the 4th of May. It is anticipated that from the 5th of May a gradual opening of the economy wil take place. The latest cases and deaths are the following:

Table 1: Coronavirus cases – 27 January – 30 April

Region/CountryCases27 JanCases27 FebCases26 MarCases16 AprCases23 AprCases30 Apr
China4 58178 49981 28582 34182 79882 862
Europe556246 327932 4641 090 8731 219 278
Africa  1 00516 82524 89436 703
North America 7489 478672 727889 2821 116 169
Rest of the World2 49553 322380 387551 178766 572
Total4 58182 183471 4172 084 7442 639 0253 221 584


From the middle of March the epicentre of the coronavirus has shifted from China to Europe and then to the US. Currently 37.8% of all reported cases are in Europe and 58% of the total deaths.  The US reported 1 064 572 cases and 61 669 deaths. Only 1.1% of the reported cases are on the African continent; however one should keep in mind that testing is not done as expected. 

Table 2: Coronavirus deaths – 27 January – 30 April

Region/CountryDeaths27 JanDeaths27 FebDeaths26 MarDeaths23 AprDeaths/30 Apr 
China1062 7473 2874 6324 633
Europe1414 143110 387131 603
Africa  281 2371 557
North America[1] 1 33449 65564 665
Rest of the World432 50318 35225 805
Total1062 80421 295184 263228 263


[1] North America is Canada and the US

If the current trend continues the total number of deaths will be around 270 000 in a weeks’ time. The USA, Spain, Italy, France and the UK have today 71.8% of the number of deaths reported in the whole World. 

Africa was out of limelight in the beginning and Egypt reported the first cases. Slowly the coronavirus pandemic is reaching the African continent and all countries reported 36 703 cases and 1 557 deaths. How is the virus spreading in the SADC region? There are only 7 200 cases reported in the SADC region and 173 deaths.

Table 3: Coronavirus cases and deaths in the SADC region – 2 – 30 April 2020

SADC countryCases2 AprCases16 AprCases23 AprCases30 AprDeaths2 AprDeaths16 AprDeaths23 AprDeaths30 Apr
South Africa1 3532 5063 6355 35053465103
Total1 7913 4724 9997 2002378122173


Namibia expects an easing of the lockdown from 5 May with appropriate restrictions. 

Graph one below illustrate that the peak has been reached and we are in a declining trend. We will not reach zero cases soon, but we have to manage the risks strictly. 

Graph 1: Weekly change of the World’s coronavirus cases and deaths

The graph above depicts the weekly change since beginning of February 2020 in the whole World of reported cases and deaths. There is light at the end of the tunnel and since 2 April a five week decline in the growth of cases and deaths occurred.

Graph 2: COVID 19 cases and deaths in Africa and the rest of the world

Source: Compiled from Worldometers data

From the data which is available one can see that a third wave is not on the way as the WHO predicted two weeks ago.

The real economic costs are spiralling and a World recession has become a reality, much worse than in 2009. Such dramatic economic implication of a lockdown of major economies has never been experienced before and the economic growth projections vary and are updated daily. 

China and the United States reported the economic growth figures for the first quarter already and in table 4 below the major economies are listed:

Table 4: Real growth in Q1 of 2020 – major economies

CountryQuarter 1Real growth in GDP
United States-4.8%

[2] Forecast

[3] Forecast

The World economy will move into a severe recession as the MSCI World Index (below) is signalling. The MSCI World Index consists of the stock exchange performance of 28 countries. 

Graph 3: MSCI World Index

   Source: MSCI Index

The MSCI index was at 2401 on 22 February 2020 and closed on Tuesday at 2023, a fall of 15.7%. Markets improved since Monday on news that vaccines could be available from September. 

Table 4: Selected international commodity prices

Winners for Namibia  
Energy: Brent oil7.92%-66.00%

 Source: Trading economics. 30 April 2020 

The commodity prices relevant to Namibia reached a turning point three weeks ago and with the weakening exchange rate one can probably see an increase in exports from May onwards.

The N$ is currently trading 18.1 to the US Dollar and 19.7 to the Euro. Economic growth can thus come in 2020 from declining imports and increasing exports due to the weakening exchange rate. The latest forecast for 2020 by the Bank of Namibia is -6.9%. 

Compiled by: Rainer Ritter           

30 April 2020