The World Trade Organisation (WTO) has declared that global trade would experience its worst decline in 10 years as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. This is going to be worse than the global financial crisis of 2008.
In a statement obtained by Nairametrics, the WTO disclosed that global trade would fall between 13% and 32% in 2020 as Coronavirus continues to disrupt business activities around the world. The said disruption is currently being witnessed in Nigeria, as the restriction of movement by the government has paralysed some businesses, mostly those in the informal sector.
Speaking on the WTO projection, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation, Roberto Azevedo said:
“This crisis is first and foremost a health crisis which has forced governments to take unprecedented measures to protect people’s lives. The unavoidable declines in trade and output will have painful consequences for households and businesses, on top of the human suffering caused by the disease itself.
“The immediate goal is to bring the pandemic under control and mitigate the economic damage to people, companies and countries. But policymakers must start planning for the aftermath of the pandemic.”
Commenting further, Azevedo expressed optimism by noting that an economic rebound is possible following the pandemic.
“These numbers are ugly – there is no getting around that. But a rapid, vigorous rebound is possible. Decisions taken now will determine the future shape of the recovery and global growth prospects. We need to lay the foundations for a strong, sustained and socially inclusive recovery.
“Trade will be an important ingredient here, along with fiscal and monetary policy. Keeping markets open and predictable, as well as fostering a more generally favourable business environment, will be critical to spur the renewed investment we will need. And if countries work together, we will see a much faster recovery than if each country acts alone.”
As you may well know, much of the world’s population is currently observing social distancing due to the increasing number of confirmed Coronavirus cases. At least, 1.5 million people are believed to have contracted the highly contagious virus. Although the figure is still low in Nigeria at 276, the government is working hard to trace over 6000 persons who are believed to have come in contact with confirmed cases.
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In the meantime, efforts are underway to develop a vaccine for the virus. And until that happens, there are possibilities that countries around the world may decline to extend their lockdown measures. Unfortunately, this will only worsen the impacts on economies, even though it is well-intended.