Covid-19: Legal and Business Considerations for African Businesses

COVID 19 – Legal & Business Considerations for African Businesses

COVID 19 – Legal & Business Considerations for African Businesses

1.                  Introduction

COVID-19 Considerations for African Businesses

The COVID-19 pandemic is becoming one of the most serious threats to global markets and international trade seen in recent times. Border closures and travel restrictions instituted by different countries to restrain the spread of the virus, have adversely affected transportation and other supply side businesses and service providers. Uncertainty about the disease has plagued stocks, bonds and futures markets with negative implications. Financial markets have suffered losses and global economic forecasts are being reassessed and downgraded to account for the loss in trade and income to businesses and governments resulting from the pandemic.

Asian, American and European governments and policy makers have pursued policies of social distancing, quarantines and business closures to curb the spread of the virus, along with stimulus packages to support businesses and individuals during the intervening period when work in many business sectors will be restricted. Across the world, in addition to the effects of the pandemic, markets are simultaneously suffering the effects of an oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which has seen oil prices falling as low as $21 for WTI Crude and $25 for Brent crude (per barrel), with analysts predicting a $20/ barrel oil market.

Africa is currently experiencing an increase in cases of COVID-19 and African governments and policy makers are pursuing similar policy strategies as their Asian, American and European counterparts. These restrictions along with the concerning state of the markets discussed above, have implications for African businesses, in their dealings with their employees, investments and trade dealings and in their dealings with the government and regulatory agencies. Some of these COVID-19 considerations for African businesses will be considered below.

2.      African Businesses and Employees

African countries such as Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa have instituted travel restrictions, social distancing and/ or quarantine policies.

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COVID 19 – Legal Business Considerations for African Businesses