Nowhere in the world will the global humanitarian challenge of COVID-19 be felt more acutely than in Africa. In a continent of approximately 1.2 billion people, almost all of its 54 countries have confirmed cases of coronavirus, with numbers likely to escalate in the near future.
While a number of African governments have moved quickly to introduce some of the harshest lockdown restrictions, there are question marks over whether these will be effective in countries where social distancing may be largely impossible or where access to water for hand washing and other basic sanitation can be a daily challenge. Combine this with a chronic lack of essential healthcare equipment and generally weaker national health systems, and there is no doubt that the continent of Africa is facing one of its gravest healthcare challenges.
Government measures introduced in Asian and Western economies to support business and employment will also look different on the African continent. Many African governments do not have the same access to global debt markets and simply lack the financial strength to be able to respond in the same way. As a result, many African governments have reached out to the World Bank and the IMF for assistance and significant appeals are being made to the private sector to help finance the response to COVID-19.
Clearly businesses with an African presence will need to understand how governments are responding in the jurisdictions in which they operate and the implication of those responses on their people and businesses.
With DLA Piper Africa offices in 20 countries across the continent, and backed by the global offering of DLA Piper, we are ideally placed to help local and international clients to implement their response to COVID-19 in the short term and to prepare for recovery in the future. Accordingly, we have produced this guide to assist businesses to navigate the commercial threats posed by COVID-19. The guide provides updates and insights in respect of how Africa’s biggest economies are responding to the crisis across a range of topics, including Financial Support, Business Protection, Employment, Business Operations, Corporate Law, Insolvency Law and Access to Justice.
This second edition covers 16 African jurisdictions and aims to include measures announced up to the end of 27 April 2020. The Guide forms part of a broader DLA Piper Global Guide, which covers over 40 jurisdictions across Europe, the UK, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific. The global guide, together with other useful insights, webinars and tools to help you manage during these difficult times can be found on our Coronavirus Resource Centre at https://www.dlapiper.com/coronavirus.
If you would like to discuss any of these areas in more detail or any other Africa jurisdiction, please reach out to your usual DLA Piper Africa contact or visit our DLA Piper Africa website at www.dlapiperafrica.com.