Source: Tackling COVID-19 in Africa,
McKinsey & Company
1. Set up national nerve centers.
Governments, with the close involvement of the private sector and other
key stakeholders, need to take rapid action to set up or build out
national nerve centers to coordinate and accelerate their response to
the crisis. These nerve centers should bring together crucial leadership
skills, organizational capabilities, and digital tools— giving leaders
the best chance of getting ahead of events rather than reacting to them.
2. Anticipate and manage the health
Governments will need to take even
stronger measures to delay and reduce the peak of the epidemic—including
more intensive social distancing through mobility restrictions and
lockdowns as well as larger-scale surveillance to test and isolate
identified cases. In parallel, governments must immediately prepare for
a potentially rapid surge of cases, which will demand significant
numbers of testing facilities, hospital beds, ventilators and other
medical equipment, as well as additional health professionals. Given the
limited existing resources in most African healthcare systems, bold and
locally tailored measures will be required to create surge capacity and
prevent mortality among the most vulnerable population.
3. Secure food supply and essential
Governments need to secure food
supply chains, particularly the supply of priority products—and ensure
the appropriate pricing of these products. They will also need to ensure
that access to essential services such as telecoms and utilities is
4. Ensure support for most
This includes taking measures to
protect jobs and to support affected communities, particularly the most
vulnerable populations, through social safety-net mechanisms—including
5. Anticipate and manage the impact
on the economy.
Governments need to anticipate what
the impact on their economy is likely to be through scenario analysis
and offer a short-term stimulus package to maintain financial stability
and help businesses survive the crisis—particularly those in strategic
industries. Given the expected loss of tax revenue, governments will
also need to identify opportunities to urgently reduce non-essential
for the private sector
The first responsibility of
private-sector firms is to ensure business continuity in the ongoing
crisis. Based on our discussions with risk and health professionals in
more than 200 companies across sectors, we suggest several critical
steps for firms—starting with establishing their own central nerve
centers. These nerve centers can co-ordinate company responses on four
key dimensions, as follows:
The focus here is to guarantee
continuation of employment in a safe working environment; adjust to
shift or remote work with the required tools; and preserve the
employees’ health through safe working facilities and strict isolation
of suspected cases.
2.Stabilize supply chains.
Companies need to guarantee
business continuity through transparent supplier engagement, demand
assessment and adjustments of production and operations.
Companies can hone their crisis
communication and identify changes in key policies, ranging from
guidelines to guarantee social distancing, to waivers of cancellation
and rebooking fees.
Companies need to develop and assess relevant epidemiological and
economic impact scenarios to address and plan for working capital
requirements. They will also need to identify areas for cost containment
across the business.