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Baker McKenzie: COVID-19 in Africa – A guide to response measures taken by African Governments

With the rising number of global COVID-19  deaths and infections, African countries have taken measures to deal with the economic gravity of the pandemic and protect their citizens. This Guide provides a summary of key government interventions across Africa, in relation to, inter alia state aid, foreign investment restrictions, as well as debt, employment and taxation measures. Due to the rapidly evolving legal and regulatory framework across multiple jurisdictions in Africa, the situation remains fluid and is being constantly monitored.

Countries around the globe are facing unprecedented and rapid change due to COVID-19. Governments in Africa have announced numerous relief schemes, interventions, new regulations and foreign investment restrictions in response to the devastating socioeconomic impacts of the pandemic. These developments have important implications for investors, businesses and individuals in Africa.

Many countries have announced banking and debt relief measures to support companies’ debt arrangements, including deferred payments, guaranteed credit facilities, and government-backed loans. Similarly, governments have implemented new taxation measures to support businesses, including deferral of payments, expedited customs clearance and suspension of interest on tax payments. Employment law measures and relief schemes to aid employers and employees during lockdowns and to protect the health of employees have also been introduced across many African countries.

Businesses and investors must also carefully consider new foreign investment measures implemented by governments in Africa and review foreign investment risks at this highly sensitive and volatile time. Time should be taken to understand the rapidly changing rules in this regard and identify a regulatory strategy.

This guide is intended to provide a broad overview of certain key measures in 22 jurisdictions in Africa. The situation is evolving and so too are government responses. We continue to review the situation across multiple African jurisdictions.