In many ways the ongoing Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa has taken a huge toll on the continent, from loss of lives to brewing economic and political strains. These are one of the last things an already struggling African economy needs.
The Xenophobic Attacks in South Africa don’t seem to be ending soon but we can begin counting the costs already.
1. Loss of lives & properties
The death toll keeps rising every day in South Africa as South Africans continue to vandalize businesses of other Africans and take their lives as well. In retaliation, these countries are also destroying South African businesses in their countries as have been seen in Nigeria, Zambia and Kenya.
Of course this is loss of both human and material resources.
2. Shutdown of businesses
Safety first, they say. After the retaliatory attacks began, in other to protect lives and properties South African companies in other countries have shutdown their offices indefinitely pending when issues are addressed. MTN and Shoprite are one of the most affected.
The implications are clear to see. These affected businesses are losing millions by the day, both South African and non-South African.
3. Increase in economic uncertainty
Nobody wants to put their money where there’s such high degree of violence. It doesn’t do inflow of foreign investment any good. And because businesses outside of South Africa are also affected that uncertainty also extends to countries like Nigeria where foreign investment isn’t currently doing good.
4. Boycott of World Economic Forum (WEF)
The WEF meet in Cape Town South Africa was an opportunity for African leaders and leading businessmen to converge and discuss Africa’s economic future, however, as a result of the attacks, a number of them chose to boycott the event as a way of showing their distaste of the attacks.
That list includes presidents of Rwanda, DR Congo, and Malawi. Nigerian business leaders Jim Ovia, and Tony Elumelu also boycotted.
5. Strained bilateral relations
The retaliatory attacks and boycott of the WEF point to the fact that political relations have began to strain. Domestically in most of these countries, political and ethnic strains already exist. A cross border feud is the last thing the continent’s economy needs at the moment as it continues its struggle to make headway and lift its people out of poverty.