Covid -19 is seriously disrupting global supply chain and African businesses may soon be hard hit, President of Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prince Adetokunbo Kayode has raised the alarm.
According to a statement signed by the Media and Strategy Officer of the Chamber, Mr. Lubem Gena, Prince Kayode was speaking while hosting a business delegation from the European Union led by Gianioca Russo of Q and T in his office in Abuja on Tuesday.
The ACCI boss raised alarm that the ongoing disruption affecting the big economies may soon openly affect businesses in Africa later this month.
“We commend government for the ongoing drive to boost internal manufacturing and production capacity. We must do more especially as Covod-19 is creating a challenge that may affect economic growth of many African nations. That China is slowing down implies commodity and oil exporting nations are going to be hard hit.
“Several reports from our members within and outside the country confirm that the peak of the impact of Covid-19 on global supply chains will occur in mid-March, forcing thousands of companies to throttle down or temporarily shut assembly and manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Europe”, the ACCI chief said.
He is also noted that “the impact may be more than envisaged as many companies rely heavily or solely on factories in China for parts and materials”
Citing the falling activity of Chinese manufacturing plants in the past month, he said Nigeria and some other African nations will be affected because of interlinking to China and regional supply chain hubs like South Africa and India.
“Reports from our members within the Chambers of Commerce show that certain imports from India are becoming difficult because some of the Indian colonies depends on China for supply of certain parts in their production chain. This is so in the pharmaceutical sub-sector and other areas.
Kayode who emphasised the need for local capacity development in manufacturing and other business sectors said the disruption is already affecting ports, citing Allard Castelein, the CEO of Rotterdam harbor.
He quoted Castelein as noting that, “the effect of the coronavirus is already visible. The number of departures from Chinese ports has decreased by 20% these days.”
He stressed that activity at the French port of Le Havre is also slowing and could drop by 30% within two months while situation at South African and other African ports are getting slower.
While commending government for encouraging local production, the ACCI boss affirmed that Covid-19 is not just an health pandemic but an economic hammer that may plunge world economy into likely recession.
Russo in his reaction described the pandemic as a global threat ,noting that the impact may be more severe economically beyond the health emergency.
“This is a worldwide challenge. Governments and businesses must cooperate to cushion the effect not only on the global supply chain but the inter related world of production and commerce”, he said.