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THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS IN NIGERIA

THE DEVASTATING EFFECTS OF CORONAVIRUS IN NIGERIA

In a report by the United Nations Economic Commission, the magnitude of the impact the Covid 19 pandemic will have on the countries of the African continent emerges: the forecast is between 300 thousand to 3.3 million victims, depending on the measures taken to stop the spread. It is assumed that 2.3 to 22.5 million people may need hospitalisation and 500 thousand to 4.4 million people may need intensive care.

Nigeria, the first economy on the African continent, despite the measures put in place by the government to fight the pandemic, risks the worst recession in the last 30 years.

According to analysts of the International Monetary Fund, the crisis could last until 2021 with an estimated contraction of 3.4% for this year.

Among the measures taken by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to contain the spread of the virus there is an emergency fund released to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and a package of economic incentives to reduce the impact for families and businesses.

These measures are not enough to ward off the recession because, according to IMF CEO, Kristalina Georgieva, the strong threat also comes from the drop in international oil prices, the country’s economy almost entirely depends on. On a continental scale, the pandemic has also put in crisis exports of textiles and flowers and tourism (up to 38 per cent of GDP in some countries).

This has pushed the Nigerian government to ask for a loan of around 7 billion to international credit institutions, including the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Islamic Bank.

The 56% of the population in sub-Saharan Africa lives in overcrowded and poorly equipped slums, where even simple hand washing becomes a problem and almost 40% of children under five are malnourished. Tuberculosis and AIDS still afflict a country where there are very few beds in hospitals, medical personnel and drugs are mainly imported.

Nigeria, especially in suburban areas, reflects this dramatic situation of precarious health, which, together with the increase in public debt and internal security problems, can be an explosive mix in a land we, as Steadfast Onlus, do care.

As you know, we are actively present with our NigeriAid project, with which, through international cooperation, we bring tools that allow Nigerian people to have a better future.

We are involved in various projects, active in education’s fields, job training, as well as on the humanitarian and health front and we will soon be active in the field of international adoptions for which the Nigerian government has already recognised us as an accredited body.

As you can understand, we are very worried about the evolution of this situation since this crisis will affect, although in a different way, all our projects and more and, unfortunately, it will do it in a negative way.

Three are the orphanages of which we have taken the paternity, after the last trip to Nigeria by Emmanuele Di Leo and Venere Fiorenza Di Leo, respectively president and member of the board of Steadfast, for a total of one thousand children hosted who are already at risk of not seeing guaranteed the necessary food and primary goods, due to the economic constraints of the structures. Our heart is there with them.

We seriously hope that the Nigerian government, in assessing the points of intervention it is going to finance through these loans, will incentivise public spending on these realities, health and right to education.

Young people who are holding the future of this country have the right to grow safely and to be able to contribute to the development of their land on the spot, not searching for fortune, and often finding death and exploitation, escaping to Europe.

Steadfast, thanks to the consolidated relationships with the local Governors, will continue to work so that this continues to be possible.

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