The continuous spread of the Coronavirus in the region is expected to negatively affect the rating of Member States on the COMESA Peace and Prosperity Index (CPPI), experts at the COMESA Governance, Peace and Security (GPS) Unit have revealed.
Indications are that the current spread of the COVID-19 in the region is happening in an environment where countries are already overburdened by huge challenges that is set to disrupt the CPPI ratings.
Some of the challenges cited in the GPS report include climate change effects, terrorism, locust invasions in East Africa, which is threatening food security and effects of natural disasters like cyclone Idai and Kenneth in 2019 that killed and displaced many families. This is coupled with overburdened health systems – Malaria, Cancer, HIV and AIDS, Cholera, Ebola and other communicable diseases.
The resultant effects are that COMESA Member States are going to concentrate resources in the health sector to contain the spread of the COVID 19,” the Report says.
“Other areas of societal development are likely to suffer due to limited resources. This will leave some countries in the region more vulnerable to internal and external shocks that may pose a threat to national and regional peace and security,” the Report says.
The analysis provided by GPS further notes that the situation is likely to worsen for countries that have been projected for low levels on the CPPI as compared to those projected for high CPPI for 2020-2021.
“What this means is that countries that have built their resilience overtime, will likely come out of the pandemic stronger as compared to those that remain structurally vulnerable. In addition, the situation could worsen for countries that have emerged from long periods of conflict.”
Local gangs and negative forces such as rebel and terrorist groups may take advantage of this situation to enhance their territorial control. With four terrorist groups and approximately 25 rebel groups being active in the region, the security situation may worsen with the spread of the virus, the experts added.
Some of the negative effects are economic hardship associated with the impact of the virus is likely to lead to the emergence of criminal gangs specially in urban and rural areas with limited government presence. The gangs, if not controlled will be a source of insecurity, the Report says.
According to the COMESA Early Warning Structural Vulnerability Assessment Framework (COMWARN SVA) projection for 2020 -2021 released in November 2019, the region was projected for medium level CPPI.
This is largely going to be driven by continued investment in infrastructure, investment in human resources through investment in both secondary and tertiary education and value addition in agriculture. These sectors are likely to be impacted by the spread of COVID-19 due to limited resources allocated to these sectors. This, in the long run will derail the regional CPPI, concludes the Report.