The World’s Big Opponent: Impact of COVID-19 on Arbitration in Africa

The continuous spread of the COVID-19 virus has no doubt grounded economic activities all over the world to a complete halt, even as governments grapple to contain the pandemic. In the United States of America, the national guard has been deployed to assist with response efforts, South Africa is in lockdown for 21 days, and nations such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda and Ghana have banned all forms of public gatherings. In Nigeria, the Federal Government recently ordered cessation of movement in key cities, while a state of emergency is in full effect in Senegal, and Ivory Coast.

The economic effect of the pandemic is profound, and its corrosive impact on the global economy is certain. Stock prices have crashed significantly with countries greatly restricting inbound travels, crude oil prices have fallen to an all-time low and there is a total shutdown of activities in the world’s most vibrant cities. As we see it, dusk to dawn curfew for nearly all countries is near, global unemployment index is bound to soar higher and currency devaluation is in sight. Indeed, many African countries have announced economic stimulus packages to bolster their economies and respond to this ravaging plague.

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