The COVID-19 pandemic has created chaos, panic, and hopelessness for people across the world. For the first time in recent years, with few exceptions, infectious disease has ravaged the global north more than the south, defying modern stereotyping of contagious diseases. Since there is no known cure or vaccine for the disease that started in China in December 2019, many countries have adopted lockdowns, testing regimes and social distancing to truncate the spread. African countries have followed suit with various shades of social distancing and lockdowns, thereby afflicting social and political stresses on its people. This write-up briefly assesses how Africa is absorbing the shocks from the disease and policy imperatives. It argues that without creativity, contextualisation and civil participation in political decisions, African countries will struggle to resuscitate after the pandemic.
There are debates about whether and how the disease will affect Africa. One School of Thought posits that poverty, inefficient healthcare systems, and crowded urban populations will make the virus spread faster with more devastating consequences than happened elsewhere; whilst another School argues that high temperatures, the median age of 20 and the history of resilience to other epidemics like Ebola and HIV/AIDS are skewed to the continent’s advantage.
By: Clement Sefa-Nyarko
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