Namibia Logistics Association

2020/31 Coronavirus and the World Economy

Coronavirus and the World Economy

The coronavirus has arrived in the most remote place of the World and 213 countries and territories are affected. Namibia has now 11 714 cases and South Africa 685 155. The latest cases and deaths are the following:

Table 1: Coronavirus cases – 28 May –08 October

Region/CountryCases28 MayCases25 JuneCases30 JulyCases27 AugCases01 OctCases08 Oct
China82 99583 44984 16585 00485 41485 500
Europe1 509 0131 647 9921 866 6092 214 4003 518 2174 046 301
Africa121 077329 888874 8041 204 1341 480 0151 518 457
North America1 833 3222 564 9504 683 5076 126 7827 611 7827 949 347
Rest of the World2 243 6964 916 8849 678 841 14.70521 529 76522 801 978
Total5 790 1039 543 163 17.188 24.33534 225 19336 401 583


From the middle of March the epicentre of the coronavirus has shifted from China to Europe, the US and then to the rest of the World with 62.6% of all reported cases. The US reported 7 776 224 cases and 216 784 deaths. Only 4.2% of the reported cases and 3.5% of the deaths are on the African continent and we are over the peak. 

Table 2: Coronavirus deaths – 28 May –08 October

Region/CountryDeaths28 MayDeaths25 JuneDeaths30 JulyDeaths27 AugDeaths/01 Oct Deaths/08 Oct
China4 6344 6344 6344 6344 6344 634
Europe165 662179 129184 792186 461196 461200 314
Africa3 6638 85619 64928 56635 73737 017
North America[1]108 872132 766162 757192 747221 130226 325
Rest of the World74 601159 901297 375417 268561 432592 273
Total357 432485 294670 207829 6761 019 8301 060 563


If the current trend continues the total number of deaths will be around 1 117 000 in a weeks’ time. The USA, Brazil, UK, Italy, Spain, France, Mexico and India have today 65.7% of the number of deaths reported in the whole World. 

The African continent reached a turning point and all countries reported 1 518 457 cases and 37 017 deaths. There are only 779 110 cases reported in the SADC region and 19 110 deaths. South Africa is dominating SADC with 87.9% of the cases and 90.2% of the number of deaths.

Table 3: Coronavirus cases and deaths in the SADC region – 30 July – 08 October 2020

SADC countryCases30 JulCases27 AugCases01 OctCases08 OctDeaths30 JulDeaths27 AugDeaths01 OctDeaths08 Oct
South Africa471 123615 701674 339685 1557 49713 50216 73417 248
Madagascar10 31714 55416 45416 63399181232235
Zambia5 24911 37614 75915 224146282282335
Namibia1 9866 43211 26511 714959121126
DRC8 9319 91210 68510 804210254272276
Zimbabwe2 8796 2517 9197 83841179228229
Mozambique1 7483 5908 7289 49411216168
Malawi3 7385 4745 7735 803103173179180
Eswatini2 5514 3875 6175 4824088109113
Angola8122 3325 7254 97233103183211
Botswana8041 6333 1723 172261618
Lesotho5761 0511 5951 76713313640
Total511 681683 685766 096779 1108 23514 91018 53419 110


Graph one below illustrate that the peak has been reached and we are in a declining trend for 30 weeks. 

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

The graph above depicts the weekly change since beginning of April 2020 in the whole World of reported cases and deaths. For the declining trend continued especially with the number of deaths.

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

Source: Compiled from Worldometers data

[1] North America is Canada and the US

From the data which is available one can see that the declining trend continuous with a slight increase in the deaths. Which countries are the worst affected countries according to deaths and recorded cases? Peru has replaced Belgium on top of the list with the number of deaths per population and Qatar with the number of cases. A high number of cases do not automatically mean a high number of deaths, as the Qatar example demonstrate.

Table 4: Worst affected countries according to deaths and cases

CountryDeaths/1M pop.Total cases/1M pop.
Qatar7845 296
Bahrain 43 065
Israel 30 755
Panama 27 073
Peru 25 251
South Africa29011 514
Germany1153 710
Namibia494 588

Source: Worldometers

What is the trend in the Namibian reported cases of Covid-19? We can firmly establish already a turning point after 23 August and a strong declining trend is visible from the 3 day moving average. 

Graph 3: The Namibian Covid-19 cases

Source: Worldometers

The World economy is out of 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 4: MSCI World Index

The MSCI index was at 2403 on 22 February 2020 and closed on Wednesday at 2408, a slight increase of 0.2%. The improvement in stock markets is also supported by the monthly improvement of 52% in the Baltic Dry Index (The Baltic Dry Index provides a benchmark for the price of moving major raw materials by sea) and the Chinese economy is steaming ahead, contrary to the domestic economy. 

Table 5: Selected international commodity prices

Winners for Namibia  
Energy: Brent oil6.45%-25.55%

 Source: Trading economics. 08 October 2020 

The commodity prices relevant to Namibia reached a turning point seventeen weeks ago in the past four weeks prices weakened again coupled with the nervousness in the international stock markets. Oil prices increased in the past week and for the month by 6.45%. The exchange rate strengthened slightly this week and the N$ is currently trading 16.64 to the US Dollar and 19.58 to the Euro.

Towards the end of October the Mid-term budget review will take place and one can expect in the message by the Minister of Finance of how the domestic economy can be ‘ignited’ or how the economy will be ‘kick-started’. The recipe of accountants normally centre’s around expenditure, income and debt. Economists look at sectoral GDP, income, expenditure, debt, investment and how to grow the economy by addressing lacklustre exports and attracting investments.

Speaking to seasoned business people the answer will be trust, trust and trust. Namibia is at a crossroads and social capital or the soft drivers of economic growth must get more prominence in the debate of the future development path. Not only the business people emphasize governance, trust and the fight against corruption as essential building blocks for a better future, it is also the view of ordinary Namibians. The Afrobarometer Round 9 survey was conducted in August 2019 (two months before the Fish rot was in the news, and the 1200 respondents had the following view on the future direction of Namibia. 

 In 2012 (Afrobarometer 5) 71% of the respondents said that the country is moving in the right direction and the percentage increased in 2014 (Afrobarometer 6) to a high of 75%. In the second quarter of 2016 the Namibian started to go in a prolonged recession and it seems trust in the management of the economy receded. The answer to the question in 2017 (Afrobarometer 7) changed dramatically, only 40% of the respondents believed that the country was moving in the right direction, a drop of 30%. In 2019 only 17.4% were of the view that Namibia is moving in the right direction and 80.4% had the view that Namibia is moving in the wrong direction. The drastic change is depicted in the graph below:

Graph 4: The people of Namibia have no confidence in the government

If 80.4% of the Namibians believe we are moving in the wrong direction we have a crisis at hand, especially since the situation has worsened in 2020 due to Covid-19 and the rampant corruption.

On the question: “What are the most important problems facing the country that government should address”,the following top four problems (according to priority) were listed by the respondents in the last four surveys:

  1. Unemployment
  2. Poverty/destitution
  3. Managing the economy
  4. Corruption

With the current economic depression due to Covid-19 and the Fish rot scandal that broke in November 2019, the perception on trust, corruption and managing the economy has probably changed again and worsened. It is interesting to note that land and housing does not feature on the priority list of the average Namibian, which is an indication that these issues are on the mind of politicians. Ordinary Namibians want jobs and NEEEB and land reform are not on their agenda. Namibia has to focus on creating jobs and income through productive work (not corruption) and that will assist to address distribution of income and overcome poverty and destitution.

Compiled by: Rainer Ritter                     

08 October 2020