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Published 2nd April 2020

Vol 61 No 7


Third wave threatens the continent

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Lack of international consensus on the response to the virus multiplies risks to Africa's economies and healthcare

Top African and UN officials are desperately lobbying a divided international system for a US$100 billion emergency fund to combat what they fear will be a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic ripping through Africa in mid-April, as it ravages Europe and North America.


Into uncharted waters

Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020
Copyright © Africa Confidential 2020

Shutdowns, border closures and crashing commodity prices may cause an unprecedented financial breakdown

As cases of Covid-19 grow exponentially across the world, so do the public health and economic threats to African states as governments take action. With over 20 countries on the c...

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Cyril's double crisis

Cyril Ramaphosa addresses quarantined citizens. Pic: GCIS
Cyril Ramaphosa addresses quarantined citizens. Pic: GCIS

Drastic measures to contain the pandemic, coupled with the Moody’s downgrade, have strengthened the President’s hand – for now

The South African government has vowed to respond to the double shock of the coronavirus pandemic and a credit ratings downgrade by making overdue structural reforms to prevent the...



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

In Europe, the coronavirus has brought the command economy back into fashion. Without similar financial resources, African governments will struggle to follow suit in subsidising businesses and wages and converting factories to make ventilators and protective equipment. But they have been quick to impose curfews and lockdowns – the other side of the response.

That means closing down political rallies and campaigning, which suits authoritarians. Some governments, like Ethiopia, h...

In Europe, the coronavirus has brought the command economy back into fashion. Without similar financial resources, African governments will struggle to follow suit in subsidising businesses and wages and converting factories to make ventilators and protective equipment. But they have been quick to impose curfews and lockdowns – the other side of the response.

That means closing down political rallies and campaigning, which suits authoritarians. Some governments, like Ethiopia, have cited the pandemic as reason to postpone elections. Others, such as Guinea and Mali, have gone ahead with elections because low turnouts suit their political ends.

The economic damage and accompanying stimulus measures will drag on, as may measures to enforce social distancing. That could pose a new threat to political freedoms and the media.

At this stage, decisive action and transparency are being rewarded. South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa and Ghana's Nana Addo Akufo-Addo have strengthened their positions. Meanwhile, Egypt's autocratic Abdel Fattah el Sisi, whose government has been widely accused of concealing the number of coronavirus cases, could become still more unpopular, as could Zambia's Edgar Lungu. He was derided for waiting until this week to give a national address on the pandemic. For some weeks, Tanzania's John Magufuli played down the crisis, suggesting that religious observance rather than medical science would be able to defeat the virus.

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Condé goes it alone

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Healthcare for dollars

The first reaction of Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front high-ups to the pandemic was to blame the West, or at least to gloat at its misfortune. Defence Minister and Z...


Army steps up role

Egypt has been one of countries most severely affected in Africa, with cases approaching 1,000 and deaths nearing 50 as March came to an end. The first cases were linked with a Nil...


Locking down politics

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