In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) team in Ethiopia set out to examine the actions taken by the Ethiopian private sector to combat the crisis. This report provides an overview of the current economic, social, and political impacts of the crisis in Ethiopia, and sets the stage for further analysis into the longer-term ripple effects of the pandemic. While health-related concerns have taken the leading role in the discourse around COVID-19, it is also crucial to examine how the crisis will impact Ethiopia’s uncertain political and economic future.
Alongside government measures to curb the spread of the virus, the Ethiopian private sector has proven itself to be adaptable and thorough in its responses to the crisis. As outlined in the report, members of the private sector have joined forces to contribute tens of millions of birr to the National COVID Response Fund, shifted their production lines to respond to the surge in demand for hand sanitizer and personal protective equipment (PPE), and enhanced their digital capabilities for online service provision, among many other changes to how and where they do business. In addition to the efforts of individual businesses, business membership organizations (BMOs) have also played a vital role in raising funds, increasing public awareness, and engaging their membership to identify policy solutions to the crisis and its threat to social, political, and economic stability in Ethiopia.
As the crisis continues to develop, CIPE may update this report to reflect these changes and provide additional analysis into the economic impact of COVID-19 in Ethiopia.
COVID-19 in Africa
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), has resulted in over 290,000 deaths globally and has sent shockwaves through social, political, and economic spheres worldwide. While just under 70,000 of the over 4.2 million confirmed cases around the world have been reported in Africa, there is growing concern over its rapid spread across the continent. Alongside the need for emergency medical interventions, disruption to the global economy has placed millions of livelihoods in jeopardy and led to an increase in unemployment and the need for emergency food assistance.
With 261 confirmed cases and 4 deaths, Ethiopia is by no means one of the global hotspots for the crisis. That being said, it is difficult to grasp the full reach of the pandemic’s health repercussions as testing is still in its early stages. Since the first reported case in Ethiopia on March 14, there has been a steady increase in its spread, though community transmission has remained low at just over 13% compared to the 65% of cases contracted following travel abroad (Ethiopian Health Data). With government guidelines limiting transportation and encouraging social distancing and work-from-home measures, there is hope that with the active participation of the private sector, Ethiopia will emerge as unscathed as possible from this global pandemic.