IATA: COVID-19 Will Dip Africa’s GDP By $37b

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The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has warned that the damage being done to the African aviation industry and the continent’s economies because of COVID-19 will trigger a dip in the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by over $37 billion.

A new data published by the Air Transport Action Group of which IATA is a member, stated that about 4.5 million African jobs will be lost in aviation and industries supported by it in the year.

This is well over half of the region’s 7.7 million aviation-related employment. It also lamented that 172,00 jobs will be lost in aviation alone in 2020.

The figure, it said, represents about 40 per cent of the region’s 440,000 aviation jobs.

IATA’s Regional Vice President for Africa and the Middle East, Muhammad Albakri, said GDP supported by aviation in the region would fall by about $37 billion, adding that the figure is 58 per cent below pre-COVID-19 levels.

He said: “The breakdown in air connectivity in Africa has severe social and economic consequences for millions. No income means the lack of a social safety net for many. Governments need to do all they can to reconnect the continent safely. Keeping borders closed, or imposing measures such as quarantines, that deter air travel, will result in many more livelihoods being lost and further economic shrinkage along with hardship and poverty.

“To minimise the impact on jobs and the broader African economy, an accelerated recovery of air transport across the region is paramount.This can be achieved through COVID-19 testing as an alternative to restrictive quarantine measures.”

He said about 31 countries in Africa are opening their borders to regional and international air travel.

According to Albakri, in the 22 countries, however, passengers are still subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine.

This arrangement, he said effectively stops people from travelling.

“IATA is calling for the systematic testing of passengers before departure. This will enable governments to safely open borders without quarantine and better support recovery efforts.

“Quarantine measures are crippling the industry’s recovery and hampering its ability to support social and economic development. Testing for COVID-19 will enable Africa and the world to safely reconnect and recover,” Albakri said.

– The Nation

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