Experts discuss economic effects of Covid

Wetumwene Shikage
Speakers at the ‘Pandenomics’ webinar recently hosted by Nedbank Namibia corporate and investment banking (CIB) and Simonis Storm, and supported by Nedbank Business Banking and Nedbank Private Wealth, have called for more people to get vaccinated in order to help fuel economic growth after the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The panellists included Nedbank Group South Africa senior economist Nicky Weimar, head of Nedbank Namibia CIB Dr Edward Turner, Simonis Storm economist Theo Klein, and Simonis Storm managing director Bruce Hansen, who also moderated the discussion.

During the discussion, Klein presented on the economic impact and response to the pandemic. The presentation outlined that even though the Namibian economy has been declining for the last six years, the pandemic, which resulted in government having to introduce its lockdown policy, amplified the decline.

According to a Simonis Storm report, the sectors hit hardest during this period include metal ores, beverages, accommodation, food services, meat processing, basic non-ferrous metals and transport. Growth is, however, forecasted for these sectors, but only marginally. Economic contractions have also resulted in job losses and retrenchments in these sectors.

Weimar emphasised the urgent need for people to be vaccinated.

“Studies have proven that millions of people who have been vaccinated are 90% less likely to end in hospital or dying, compared to those who have not been vaccinated,” she said.

“Companies can enforce compulsory vaccination, as it is their property and they can’t really risk putting a large number of people’s lives at risk because a few do not want to get vaccinated. At Nedbank South Africa, we are considering adopting the same policy. We certainly will enforce staff who work face-to-face with clients to get the vaccines, and you could see more companies do that,” Weimar added.

Turner agreed, adding that scientists have not yet provided clear answers on what caused the pandemic and why people should take the vaccines. It appears that many people need clear answers before they are willing to take the vaccine in the current scenario.

All is not lost.

“For those Namibians who lost jobs and lost a sense of hope, be creative and think outside the box.”

The online event was held under the theme ‘Namibian Economy: In a pandemic and getting out of it’, and is currently available on the Nedbank Namibia Facebook page.