Africans are concerned with the coronavirus outbreak as consumer confidence drops


The coronavirus outbreak that originated in China has quickly evolved into a global pandemic with over 100 countries affected to date.

While the numbers of cases have reached over 120,000 globally with China, Italy, Iran leading the way. Africa has seen fewer cases (less than 150) with Egypt and Algeria leading in terms of cases tested positive.

Remarkably, the number of coronavirus cases in Africa remains low even though China is one of Africa’s largest trading partners.

Perhaps, the relatively low prevalence in Africa can be explained by the poor or the lack of testing infrastructure or by the warm and dry conditions that are not conducive to the viral spread.

Another helpful factor could be the youthfulness of Africa’s population, according to the UN World Population Prospects, over 70% of Africans are under 30yrs old, which would make the majority of African less vulnerable to the virus.

The countries with reported cases as of Wednesday, March 11, according to the World Health Organization, include the following:

  1. Algeria — 20

  2. Burkina Faso — 2

  3. Cameroon — 2

  4. Democratic Republic of Congo –1

  5. Egypt — 59 (includes 1 death)

  6. Morocco — 3 (includes 1 death)

  7. Nigeria — 2

  8. Senegal — 4

  9. South Africa — 13

  10. Tunisia — 5

  11. Togo — 1

Despite the low prevalence of cases in Africa, we decided to launch a COVID-19 survey in 7 countries we cover each month and found that 85% of the people surveyed are concerned about coronavirus with 60% of the respondents citing that they are very concerned about the coronavirus. Incidentally, respondents in countries where individuals have been tested positive for the coronavirus are also the most concerned.

In Kenya, 69% of the respondents stated they were very concerned about coronavirus which is not surprising given the recent events in the country where passengers from China were released in the country without going through quarantine.

In Nigeria, 74% of respondents are very concerned with coronavirus. This is after the second coronavirus case was confirmed early this week. According to Nigeria’s health ministry, the person became ill after coming into contact with their index case, an Italian citizen who had travelled to Nigeria last month.

Despite their concerns, Africans don’t expect to be affected by the coronavirus. When asked if they or someone they know expect to be affected by the coronavirus, 57% of respondents don’t expect to be affected compared to 15% who say they could be affected.

28% of respondents say they don’t know or are not sure if they or someone they know is going to be affected.

Source: KASI consumer confidence index
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