Closure of Cameroon–Chad border impacts trade
Since mid-March the closure of the border between Cameroon and Chad due to the pandemic has had a very strong impact on trade between the two countries (Invest in Cameroon, 25 November). Trade flows on the Douala-Ndjamena and Douala-Bangui corridors fell by 80% during March 2020 compared with the same period in 2019. This corridor facilitates Chadian and Central African imports transiting through the port of Douala.
Cameroon: 2 billion FCFA for SMEs after Covid-19
2 billion FCFA out of the 180 billion FCFA National Solidarity Fund for the fight against coronavirus have been allocated to 720 SMEs and craftsmen who are eligible for the economic and financial resilience programme (Invest in Cameroon, 25 November). Other financial support will be granted to enterprises for an estimated total 32.7 billion FCFA. 61% of SMEs have been heavily impacted by the pandemic.
Kenya: Rural communities affected by Covid-19
In a survey of 1,000 farmers and 400 agricultural traders in the summer of 2020, Kenya Markets Trust highlights the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on farming and rural communities (La Veille Agricole, 27 November). More than 70% of respondents said they had mobilised their savings to meet expenses. More than 30% of them have sold livestock and vehicles to boost their activities, in a context where declining incomes have led many of them to change their eating habits and reduce the number or size of meals. For the second crop season in 2020, financial difficulties in purchasing inputs are expected, amplified by the rise in prices. In its new “Kenya Economic Update”, published on 25 November, the World Bank reports an increase in poverty of around 2 million people in 2020, whereas Kenya had made considerable progress in this area in recent years. Declining household incomes and an almost doubling of unemployment are reported to be the main effects of the restrictive measures. For 2020, however, the country expects to maintain positive growth of just under 1%.