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Is COVID-19 near a peak in Africa?

Updated: Sep 14

Despite the apparently low prevalence of cases in Africa, we have seen the rate of infection rising fast over the past couple of weeks in several countries. The continent has now surpassed 120,000 cases; 3,700 reported deaths, and 53,150 recoveries. South Africa continues to lead in terms of cases (27,000) but also testing capabilities. What is more concerning is that countries that have recently relaxed lockdown measures such as Ghana, Cameroon, Nigeria are seeing a sharp increase in cases. Ghana has now reported over 7,000 cases, Cameroon (5,400) and Senegal (3,300). 

As we discussed in our previous reports, webinars, and briefs, it was difficult and almost impossible to apply the same kind of full lockdowns imposed in developed economies because livelihoods are at stake in Africa. "I rather die from the virus than stay home and die from hunger" one person was heard saying. It is now apparent that Africans will have to leave with COVID-19 for a foreseeable future, what we call the COVID-19 era. Furthermore, the number of cases in Africa is most likely underestimated because not every case is accounted for by governments. As it is usually the case in Africa, there is now an informal COVID-19 outbreak and this new development should push governments and brands to re-assess their COVID-19 strategy.

Download our latest report to learn how COVID-19 is impacting Africans and how your brand can adapt and stay relevant.

It's not all doom and gloom for brands. Here are 3 winning strategies for the COVID-19 era

Businesses in Africa are facing a challenge that is unprecedented in recent history. COVID-19 is changing the landscape of business and marketing messages need to change alongside this evolving situation. Currently, Africa has a relatively low number of confirmed cases of coronavirus but 68% of Africans are concerned about the virus and how it might affect them. While health and wellness are top of mind, 63% of Africans report they are more concerned about how the pandemic will impact them financially. Read more

76% of South Africans we surveyed trust the public health system and the government have the capabilities to trace, detect and treat coronavirus

A parallel with AIDS? After 3 months of the outbreak in Africa, it is now apparent that a vaccine or a cure are not coming up before the end of the year, lockdown measures are limited in Africa as the toll on people's livelihoods is too big for governments. We are entering into a COVID-19 era and the ability of government and public health to manage the virus will make the difference between facing dire economic consequences because of COVID-19 and get through it. In the COVID-19 era, people's habits have changed and will continue to change. It is expected that people be more health-conscious on one end, on the other end, public health systems need to build the capability to trace, detect, and treat COVID-19. 

When asked about their government and public health officials' capacity to trace, detect, and treat, our research shows big variations amongst the countries. Given South Africa's track record in managing AIDS and its record in testing for COVID-19, it's not surprising that 76% of people in South Africa believe their government and public health system have the ability to manage COVID-19. Cameroon's latest record on testing and managing the crisis doesn't instill confidence amongst people and as a result, only 26% of respondents in Cameroon believe the government and public health systems can manage COVID-19. 

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