Dakar – African countries have lost almost $55billion in travel and tourism revenues in three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, said the African Union (AU) commissioner for infrastructure and energy in Thursday.
According to Amani Abou-Zeid, the economic impact of lockdowns as a measure to curb the spread of coronavirus would be severe, with the continent’s air industry hit particularly hard.
She added that tourism and travel represented almost 10% of the gross domestic product of Africa.
“We have 24 million African families whose livelihood is linked to travel and tourism,” Abou-Zeid said, adding the downturn had come in a year when Africa was expected to see an increase in travel and air transport.
“The blow is very hard, between the economic losses and the job losses,” Abou-Zeid said. African airlines have seen a 95% drop in revenues, or about $8 billion, along with other losses such as the deterioration of assets, she said.
“Some airlines in the continent will not make it post-COVID-19,” she said, adding the blow came at a time when some airlines were in the early stages of development, while others, such as South African Airways, were in difficulties even before the pandemic.
sAbou-Zeid also said more resistant carriers such as Ethiopia Airlines were utilising the opportunity to acquire smaller struggling companies, but the outbreak had put a halt to the AU’s plan for a single African Air transport market.
Prosper Zo’o Minto’o, regional director for the International Civil Aviation Organisation said that African airlines would required an estimated $20 billion to start operations.