Namibia's lockdown amid COVID-19 pandemic "detrimental" to economy: researcher

Source: Xinhua| 2020-04-05 17:36:17|Editor: huaxia

WINDHOEK, April 5 (Xinhua) -- A researcher from PSG Namibia, a Namibian financial services firm, said on Saturday that the country's economy "will suffer a huge blow" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eloise du Plessis, head of research at PSG Namibia, said Namibia is set to record another significant contraction in gross domestic product (GDP) this year. In 2019 the Namibian economy contracted by 1.1 percent.

"We will determine the exact magnitude of this contraction in an interim forecast in the coming weeks," du Plessis said.

With 14 COVID-19 cases so far, the country has ordered a partial lockdown for 21 days starting on March 27, which includes the Khomas region, where the capital Windhoek is located, and the western Erongo, an important mining region.

"Namibia will soon move from a partial lockdown to a countrywide lockdown," she said. "The restrictions on local and international travel are a massive blow to the tourism and hospitality industries."

Du Plessis added that all non-essential businesses that are not allowed to operate during the lockdown, including mining, will suffer significant revenue losses.

"Furthermore, the outlook for the diamond industry has also dimmed dramatically," she said. "Even if production resumes, global diamond demands are very depressed."

The second global sightholder sales of De Beers, a world-leading diamond company, recorded a sharp drop, registering a decrease in demand for rough diamonds during the second sales cycle of 2020. What's more, the diamond giant has canceled the third sales event, the researcher noted.