Possible economic impact of COVID-19 on Botswana

Hardest hit. Street vendors in Main Mall. PIC PHATSIMO KAPENG
Hardest hit. Street vendors in Main Mall. PIC PHATSIMO KAPENG

As at the time of writing the article, Botswana had registered four confirmed cases of COVID-19, but the effects and disruption to normal life were already being felt for the past three weeks.

The aim of this article is to therefore try to investigate the different economic effects that will arise from this disaster. I will look at individual industries, possible effects on unemployment, possible effects on the government budget and possible mitigating strategies the government can employ to try cushion us against this disaster.

The first and biggest question, which needs to be answered, is how long this pandemic will run for? For us to do that we have to then define what we would consider a win. For me a win will be a return to normalcy and this can only reasonably happen where we have data and are able to quarantine all people who have it with certainty. This calls for a lockdown (best practice around the world is 21 days) that will allow for the disease to come to the fore in all people it has infected and hence give us the ability to measure it. After initial lockdown, a period of a week can be provided to see if any new cases arise. If new cases do arise, another 21-day lockdown can be warranted. This process will be played out until we get to a situation where we have the disease under control.

Editor's Comment
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