About the project
Since its emergence in December 2019, the novel coronavirus has spread rampantly across the globe, overwhelming health systems and cratering the global economy. In the United States—where federal authorities have failed to perform widespread testing for the virus and have therefore been unable to implement the targeted quarantines of infected individuals that have allowed South Korea to defeat the virus with limited disruptions to everyday life—states and cities have been forced to rely on blanket restrictions of movement, including the closure of most schools and businesses. The economic impact of these “social distancing” strategies has been severe, triggering a recession that is expected to rival the Great Depression in its severity, and leading President Trump to call for a reassessment of the response after less than fifteen days—far sooner than epidemiologists recommend.
African nations are unlikely to enjoy this luxury of choice. With more than 70 percent of African urbanites—approximately 200 million people—residing in crowded city slums, social distancing may prove impossible. And for the 85 percent of Africans who live on less than $5.50 per day, work stoppages will pose an existential threat. So what will African nations do? Will COVID-19 spread across African countries as virulently as it has spread through Asia and Europe, or will Africa’s climate and demographics provide some shield?
This series from the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center aims to follow these questions by tracking developments in key countries across the continent, and adding expert commentary across topical themes.
AfricaSource Apr 6, 2021
Keys to African recovery: Vaccines, debt, and commodities
By Rabah Arezki
In the wake of COVID-19, African markets are consumed by uncertainty about the economic recovery. Because of its large population—1.2 billion people—developments in Africa will weigh heavily on the world. The recovery from COVID-19 in Africa will depend on three factors—vaccines, debt, and commodities.
New Atlanticist Dec 8, 2020
Mo Ibrahim: Why Africa must emerge more resilient from the COVID crisis
By David A. Wemer
A well-known Afro-optimist, Ibrahim has invested in the continent’s democratic progress and has focused on tackling practical governance issues. While the pandemic has exposed such problems across the world, he noted, one of its lessons is that Africa must be “more self-sufficient” and “resilient.”
New Atlanticist Jun 18, 2020
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says his country needs ‘fiscal space’ amid the COVID-19 crisis
By Larry Luxner
“Coronavirus is mainly a health issue, and our key focus is ensuring that we keep our people safe,” Kenyatta said. “But this is also an economic crisis because it has resulted in some key sectors hugely affected by lockdowns. We were forced to close our airspace, which affected tourism, a very critical part of our economy.”
Featured country case studies
In the News Apr 7, 2020
Charai in the National Interest: How Morocco is taking on coronavirus
By Atlantic Council
Moroccans have learned that to reach the horizon beyond the deadly virus that they must address the equality gap among themselves. Read Atlantic Council Board Director Ahmed Charai’s latest in the National Interest on how Morocco is taking on the coronavirus.
AfricaSource Jun 24, 2020
Pandemic policing: South Africa’s most vulnerable face a sharp increase in police-related brutality
By Katie Trippe
South Africa is one of several nations facing an international outcry over increases in COVID-19 related violence against civilians by security forces bent on enforcing quarantine measures. Since South Africa instituted a country-wide lockdown on March 27, the number of violent incidents by police against civilians has reportedly more than doubled with poor and vulnerable populations most affected.
AfricaSource Mar 30, 2020
Coronavirus comes to Sudan
Not yet one year into a historic political transition and in the midst of an economic collapse, Sudan’s future was already hanging in the balance. The addition of a national and global public health crisis now has the potential for a ‘make or break’ impact on the country.
As the global community continues to grapple with the coronavirus (COVID-19), the Atlantic Council is open for business. Our business, meetings, and events, however, are occurring virtually. For more information, please read an update from our President and CEO.
The Africa Center works to promote dynamic geopolitical partnerships with African states and to redirect US and European policy priorities toward strengthening security and bolstering economic growth and prosperity on the continent.