Namibia Logistics Association

2021/03 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 currently 34 270 cases and 355 deaths. South Africa have currently 1 456 309 cases. The latest cases and deaths are the following:

Table 1: Coronavirus cases – 03 January to 02 February 2021

Region/CountryCases03 JanCases18 JanCases2 Feb
China87 11788 33689 594
Europe19 867 28622 531 72425 123 464
Africa2 777 5963 237 2903 571 207
North America21 505 51825 205 35327 709 333
Rest of the World40 864 89144 612 37347 626 517
Total85 102 40895 675 076104 120 115


Since the beginning of December most new cases were in Northern America and Europe. The Rest of the World was still 52.4% in the beginning of December and the share has declined to 45.7%. There is a second wave in Europe currently with subsequent restrictions announced. The US remains on top of the list with reported 26.9 million cases and 454 712 deaths. Only 3.4% of the reported cases and 4.0% of the deaths are on the African continent. China reported the past week one new death, the second reported new death since May. There is a question mark behind the reliability of the reported data.  

Table 2: Coronavirus deaths – 03 January to 02 February 2021

Region/CountryDeaths03 JanDeaths18 JanDeaths02 Feb
China4 6344 6354 636
Europe472 906537 782612 444
Africa66 48178 74991 909
North America[1]374 458425 404474 898
Rest of the World927 281997 0231 070 080
Total1 845 7602 043 5932 253 967 


[1] North America is Canada and the US

The African continent reported 3 237 290 cases and 78 749 deaths. There are only 1 570 682 cases reported in the SADC region and 41 149 deaths. South Africa is dominating SADC with 82.9% of the cases and 88.4% of the number of deaths. South Africa also dominates the African continent with 40.8% of the cases and 48.3% of the deaths. Many African countries are underreporting and some countries are not reporting any new cases and deaths, like Tanzania since May last year.

 Table 3: Coronavirus cases and deaths in the SADC region – 03 January- 02 February 2021

SADC countryCases03 JanCases18 JanCases02 FebDeaths03 JanDeaths18 JanDeaths02 Feb
South Africa1 088 8891 337 9261 456 30929 17537 10544 399
Zambia21 58238 20756 233394559794
Mozambique18 96827 44639 460168249386
Namibia25 11630 75334 270215293355
Zimbabwe14 49127 20333 5483777131 234
Malawi6 71212 47024 903192314726
DRC17 99821 06023 043595634675
Botswana14 80517 36522 7384271148
Angola17 60818 87519 829407436466
Madagascar17 76718 30119 065262273281
Eswatini9 71112 94415 804227376574
Lesotho3 2066 3718 9006593172
Seychelles2977051 24325
Total1 258 1871 570 6821 756 43732 15041 14950 246


Belgium is on top of the list with the number of deaths per population and Andorra has the most cases. 

Table 4: Worst affected countries according to deaths and cases

CountryDeaths/1M pop.Total cases/1M pop.
Belgium1 818 
Slovenia1 703 
UK1 586 
Czechia1 543 
Italy1 479 
USA1 369 
Andorra1 319129 522
Montenegro 99 466
Czechia 92 766
Slovenia 81 078
USA 81 061
Luxembourg 80 582
South Africa74324 374
Germany69926 622
Namibia13813 346

Source: Compiled from Worldometers data

Although Belgium as a country has the most deaths per one million of the population, there are some individual American states that have a much worse death rate.

Table 5: High death rate states in the USA compared with other countries

State or countryDeaths/1 Million per pop. 
New Jersey2422
New York2256
Rhode Island2051

 Source: Worldometers

The trend in the Namibian reported number of cases of Covid-19 experienced a third wave in the beginning of December and a turning point was reached at the end of December. This is visible from the 3 day moving average (graph below) with a strong declining trend. 

Graph 1: The Namibian Covid-19 cases

With an estimated world population of 7.8 billion in 2020, the total number of 104.12 million cases is 1.3% of the world population and the number of deaths is 0.029%. 

The World economy has no momentum and the monthly decrease of 4.4% in the Baltic Dry Index (The Baltic Dry Index provides a benchmark for the price of moving major raw materials by sea) is one indicator.  

Table 6: % change in USD- selected international commodity prices

Winners for Namibia  
Losers for Namibia  
Energy: Brent oil12.49%10.95%

 Source: Trading economics. 02 February 2021 

The commodity prices relevant to Namibia reached a turning point in June and they have reached a plateau at the end of December. Oil prices increased in the past months by 12.49%. The exchange rate has strengthened in the past two weeks and the N$ is currently trading 15.02 to the US Dollar and 18.15 to the Euro. 

Global risks – Looking strategically beyond COVID-19

Most decision makers in Namibia are currently focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and how to mitigate the economic fallout. Given Namibia’s weak fiscal situation before the pandemic hit the country, the already weak economic structure will be tested this year and hard decisions must be taken. Many SOE’s still live in a dream world of Government as the ultimate provider of funds, salary cuts are not discussed, but rather the spectrum to tap new sources of funds – the easier option. Is COVID-19 the biggest global risk? The World Economic Forum publishes each year a Global Risk Report. This year the top ten risks are:

Table 7: Top 10 Risks ranked

RankTop Risks by likelihood
1Extreme weather
2Climate action failure
3Human environmental damage
4Infectious diseases
5Biodiversity loss
6Digital power concentration
7Digital inequality
8Interstate relations fracture
9Cybersecurity failure
10Livelihood crises

Source: WEF

Environmental risks (shaded green) are four of the top 5 risks by likelihood and infectious diseases are only ranked four, yet it draws our full intention, although it is a passing phenomenon. The top ten risks by impact provide a different picture, because the globe experiences currently the economic and social fallout of the pandemic.

Table 8: The top ten risks by impact

RankTop Risks by impact
1Infectious diseases
2Climate action failure
3Weapons of mass destruction
4Biodiversity loss
5Natural resource crises
6Human environmental damage
7Livelihood crises
8Extreme weather
9Debt crises
10IT infrastructure breakdown

 Source: WEF

Environmental risks by impact are again five in the top ten list.  What could be the list of short term (0-2 years) risks for Namibia?

Table 9: Possible short term risks Namibia is facing

RankThreats facing Namibia 
1Prolonged stagnation due to wrong policies
2Livelihood crises
3Debt crises
4Erosion of social cohesion
5Asset bubbles crises
6Disillusionment of the youth

It would be very important for Cabinet to have a retreat in the beginning of the year to discuss frankly possible scenario’s and embark on the right path – not the easiest one.

Compiled by: Rainer Ritter                   

2 February 2021