25 March 2019

African Economy Loses U.S.$1 Billion to Cyclone Idai

Addis Ababa — AFRICA could have lost infrastructure worth US$1 billion (R14,45 billion) as a result of Cyclone Idai battering Southern Africa.

Malawi Mozambique and Zimbabwe are affected, and to a lesser extent, Madagascar.

The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) made the projections as the death toll from the tropical storm escalated.

Vera Songwe, ECA Executive Secretary, said the Idai was devastating to the economy, in addition to the hundreds of deaths it resulted in.

"We probably have lost about a billion dollars in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Malawi in terms of resources," she said at a high-level policy dialogue on capitalising on the nexus between climate change and public budget for resilient economies in Africa.

Songwe said the biggest loss was the Beira port, the signature port of Mozambique.

The storms completely destroyed the facility. Communication facilities were also destroyed in affected countries.

Songwe called on the continent to seriously start prioritising emergency preparedness and disaster planning.

"When we talk about the new climate economy it is almost impossible not to think about what is happening on our continent right now," she said.

ECA was established by the United Nations in 1958.

Based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, it has 54 member states that lie within Africa or in oceans nearby the continent.

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