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 by Bronwyn Bruton

Mar 24, 2020

What does the coronavirus mean for Africa?

AfricaSource by Bronwyn Bruton

Will the novel coronavirus prove even more deadly and disruptive in Africa? It depends on the country. Bronwyn Bruton identifies the key questions and sets the stage for the Africa’s Center’s ongoing commentary on the crisis.

Africa Coronavirus

All content

AfricaSource by Rabah Arezki

Apr 6, 2021

Keys to African recovery: Vaccines, debt, and commodities

AfricaSource 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.

Africa Coronavirus

Event Recap by Africa Center

Feb 23, 2021

Pan-African partnerships advance continental vaccine access

Event Recap by Africa Center

On Tuesday, February 23, the Africa Center hosted a panel discussion on global vaccine inequality, featuring an esteemed panel of global health, finance, and advocacy leaders.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Africa Center

Dec 22, 2020

African outlook 2021: The Africa Center reflects on 2020 and looks ahead

AfricaSource by Africa Center

African nations have mostly escaped the heavy death toll and hospital bed shortages faced by Western countries, but the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a disproportionately severe blow to the continent’s economic ambitions. Fortunately, robust collaboration between African public and private sectors, and particularly innovative financing measures from African development institutions—including members of the Africa Center’s […]

Africa Coronavirus

Event Recap by Africa Center

Dec 16, 2020

Fighting for influence in Africa: Report launch events held with the Policy Center for the New South

Event Recap by Africa Center

On Monday, December 14, and Wednesday, December 16, the Africa Center and the Policy Center for the New South (PCNS) hosted joint public events to launch twin reports on the evolving roles of the traditional and emerging external powers in Africa, with the events focusing regionally on the Red Sea and the Sahel.

Africa Conflict

New Atlanticist by David A. Wemer

Dec 8, 2020

Mo Ibrahim: Why Africa must emerge more resilient from the COVID crisis

New Atlanticist 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.”

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Africa Center

Oct 16, 2020

Financing African trade and development: An interview with TDB Group President & CEO Admassu Tadesse

AfricaSource by Africa Center

The Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) has been financing trade and development projects and promoting economic integration and prosperity in the region since 1985. Watch an interview below between Mr. Admassu Tadesse, president and chief executive officer of TDB Group and Ms. Aubrey Hruby, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center. Mr. Tadesse covers what makes TDB unique and different, the role African development finance institutions (DFIs) play in returning the African continent to economic growth post-COVID, how TDB can interface with US investors, and ways DFIs can be catalytic in increasing capital flows to African markets.

Africa Economy & Business

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

Aug 6, 2020

Innovating around infrastructure: An interview with Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobissé

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

Watch Africa Center Senior Fellow Aubrey Hruby’s interview with Mr. Alain Ebobissé, CEO of the Africa50 infrastructure fund, on the role of infrastructure investment in post-COVID recovery, Africa50’s own efforts to support African markets during this period, and reasons for optimism in light of African digitization efforts.

Africa Coronavirus

New Atlanticist by Vasuki Shastry and Jeremy Mark

Aug 4, 2020

As COVID-19 spreads, Africa needs another “London Moment”

New Atlanticist by Vasuki Shastry and Jeremy Mark

Last month’s Group of Twenty (G20) finance ministers’ meeting proved that the international community is too cautious about helping Africa in its time of need. Is the G20 prepared to face the consequences of its inaction?

Africa Coronavirus

New Atlanticist by Jeremy Mark and Vasuki Shastry

Jun 30, 2020

Private lenders need to step up on African debt relief

New Atlanticist by Jeremy Mark and Vasuki Shastry

While policymakers have called for a moratorium on developing countries’ debt payments, bankers and bondholders have raised the alarm about how such action would decimate their bottom lines. There will need to be another approach.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Katie Trippe

Jun 24, 2020

Pandemic policing: South Africa’s most vulnerable face a sharp increase in police-related brutality

AfricaSource 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.

Africa Coronavirus

New Atlanticist by Larry Luxner

Jun 18, 2020

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says his country needs ‘fiscal space’ amid the COVID-19 crisis

New Atlanticist 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.”

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

Jun 10, 2020

Progress on African free trade: An interview with AfCFTA Secretary General Wamkele Mene

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

Watch Africa Center Senior Fellow Aubrey Hruby’s exclusive interview with Mr. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, on the status of the agreement and the impact of COVID-19.

Africa Coronavirus

Event Recap by Africa Center

Jun 2, 2020

Afreximbank president champions African free trade alongside COVID-19 response

Event Recap by Africa Center

On Tuesday, June 2, the Africa Center hosted Prof. Benedict Oramah, President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), for a discussion on innovative financing amid COVID-19.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

May 20, 2020

Responding to COVID-19: An exclusive interview with AfDB President Adesina

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

Watch Africa Center Senior Fellow Aubrey Hruby’s exclusive interview with African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi Adesina on the economic response to COVID-19.

Africa Coronavirus

Event Recap by Africa Center

May 11, 2020

IGAD executive secretary lays out priorities amid coronavirus crisis

Event Recap by Africa Center

On Monday, May 11, the Africa Center hosted a virtual roundtable with His Excellency Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, executive secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The discussion focused on IGAD’s response to East Africa’s evolving challenges.

Africa Coronavirus

New Atlanticist by Larry Luxner

May 8, 2020

WFP’s David Beasley warns of dire famines in Africa, Mideast if COVID-19 supply chains damage continues

New Atlanticist by Larry Luxner

Up to 300,000 people could starve to death every day if the COVID-19 pandemic ruptures global food supply chains—even more than the roughly 275,000 people who have died of the disease worldwide so far.

Coronavirus International Markets

AfricaSource by Joanne Chukwueke

May 1, 2020

The “shadow pandemic” of gender-based violence

AfricaSource by Joanne Chukwueke

While lockdowns and social distancing measures have been essential in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, they have also produced unintended consequences: increased rates of domestic violence. As COVID-19 spreads in African countries, demand for support services for victims of gender-based violence continues to rise.

Africa Coronavirus

Event Recap by Africa Center

Apr 29, 2020

US commercial policy in Africa: A new normal?

Event Recap by Africa Center

On Wednesday, April 29, the Africa Center hosted a virtual roundtable on the impacts of COVID-19 on US commercial policy toward Africa. The private discussion featured Ms. Victoria Whitney, the Chief Operating Officer of Prosper Africa, and Mr. Andrew Herscowitz, the Chief Development Officer at the US International Development Finance Corporation.

Africa Coronavirus

New Atlanticist by Katherine Walla

Apr 29, 2020

Africa still sees a massive pandemic in its future, but partnerships may lessen blow

New Atlanticist by Katherine Walla

With an uncertain future for the pandemic that lies ahead, the Africa CDC is encouraging pivotal partnerships to act quickly to secure Africa amid haphazardly understood policies, little access to water and sanitation, and resource constraints.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

Apr 20, 2020

African private sector mobilizes COVID-19 response

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

In times when neighbors are competing with each other for medical supplies, the private sector is creating partners out of competitors. Across the continent, coalitions are coming together to support public health responses and fight the virus: a private sector response that is even more important in resource-constrained African countries.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Bronwyn Bruton and Neil Edwards

Apr 17, 2020

Barriers to mass testing for COVID-19 in Africa

AfricaSource by Bronwyn Bruton and Neil Edwards

Beyond top-line concerns over supply of test kits, other barriers to mass testing for COVID-19 in Africa include logistical constraints surrounding access to rural and densely populated urban areas, limitations on healthcare personnel and facilities, distrust of healthcare workers, and stigma associated with the virus itself.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Neil Edwards

Apr 8, 2020

Using Google reports to estimate Africa’s response to COVID-19: A compilation of the data

AfricaSource by Neil Edwards

Google’s newly released mobility reports provide statistical breakdowns by country of residents’ mobility to a variety of common locations including retail and recreation spaces, grocery stores, transit stations, places of work, and residences. This blog pursues a deep dive of the data, remarking on Africa’s varied responses.

Africa Coronavirus

In the News by Atlantic Council

Apr 7, 2020

Charai in the National Interest: How Morocco is taking on coronavirus

In the News 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.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

Apr 7, 2020

Using Google reports to estimate Africa’s response to COVID-19: Key findings

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

On April 2, Google published community mobility reports, showing how different countries and regions are adapting their movements to the coronavirus. By graphing this data, we get a unique glimpse into the state and diversity of African responses.

Africa Coronavirus

In the News by Atlantic Council

Apr 6, 2020

Yade in Le Monde: « Seule l’Afrique, avec sa jeunesse en perpétuel mouvement, apparaît en capacité de penser la destinée collective de l’humanité »

In the News by Atlantic Council

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic, African countries have an opening to revive multilateralism. Read Senior Fellow Rama Yade’s latest in Le Monde (en français) for her five-point program on how Africa can embrace this opportunity.

Africa Coronavirus

In the News by Atlantic Council

Apr 2, 2020

Bello in the Africa Report: Multilateralism in the time of coronavirus

In the News by Atlantic Council

At a time where regional and global solidarity should be the norm, it is the exception. This crisis calls for more (and better) multilateralism; not less. Read Senior Fellow Abdoul Salam Bello’s latest in the Africa Report.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Bronwyn Bruton

Apr 2, 2020

Coronavirus deals a blow to Ethiopia’s elections

AfricaSource by Bronwyn Bruton

On March 31, the government of Ethiopia indefinitely postponed historic elections that were scheduled to take place in August. This makes Ethiopia the first African nation, in what is likely to be a wave of countries, forced to set back highly contentious political contests in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, with significant implications for the outcome.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Maxwell Bone

Mar 31, 2020

Watching the spread of coronavirus in Côte d’Ivoire

AfricaSource by Maxwell Bone

Similar to many other African countries, the novel coronavirus pandemic poses grave threats to Côte d’Ivoire’s health systems and economy. However, as cases of COVID-19 spike, another problem is arising: the country’s socioeconomic and political divisions are being re-illuminated and could lead to destabilization.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Cameron Hudson

Mar 30, 2020

Coronavirus comes to Sudan

AfricaSource by Cameron Hudson

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.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Neil Edwards

Mar 27, 2020

Tanzania’s mild response to COVID-19 and its implications for the 2020 elections

AfricaSource by Neil Edwards

Tanzanian President John Magufuli received widespread criticism as he encouraged the public to continue to attend places of worship, rather than imposing stringent restrictions to mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. As the number of cases rise in Dar es Salaam, what will the spread in the city look like? With the upcoming 2020 presidential election, will Magufuli use the COVID-19 outbreak as a pretext for seeking a third term in office?

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

Mar 26, 2020

A rough road ahead for Nigeria

AfricaSource by Aubrey Hruby

Africa’s giant, Nigeria, is awakening to a new economic and social reality as a result of the coronavirus crisis. The country of two hundred million has already recorded over fifty cases and its first COVID-related death. News of high-profile infectees is starting to drive social change and spur calls for stronger government action.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Pierre Englebert

Mar 26, 2020

COVID-19 in the DR Congo

AfricaSource by Pierre Englebert

As of March 24, the Democratic Republic of Congo had only forty-eight confirmed cases of coronavirus, with three dead of the disease. But although Congo is only in the very first stages of the pandemic, the contrast between the degree of state capacity and social discipline that it takes to stifle the disease and Congo’s record on these two counts is particularly worrisome.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

Mar 25, 2020

Tough times ahead for African oil producers

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

The precipitous decline in oil prices related to the coronavirus pandemic will have significant economic knock-on effects in Africa. Central African producers look to be the most vulnerable, but the shocks will be felt everywhere.

Africa Angola

AfricaSource by Alyssa Harvie

Mar 24, 2020

COVID-19 pandemic: In a nation of extreme inequality, South Africa’s poorest are most at risk

AfricaSource by Alyssa Harvie

A major economy and transit hub, South Africa will be greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But not all South Africans will be affected equally: nearly thirty years after apartheid, South Africa is still plagued by deep societal divides. As one of the most unequal nations in the world, the virus will affect strata of society very differently.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

Mar 24, 2020

African elections in the time of coronavirus

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

African elections slated for 2020 are already being affected by COVID-19, with the potential for delays and disruptions to have significant impact on election credibility, political trust, and adherence to term limits across the continent.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Neil Edwards

Mar 24, 2020

Rwanda’s successes and challenges in response to COVID-19

AfricaSource by Neil Edwards

Rwandan President Paul Kagame has issued a nationwide shutdown that took effect midnight March 21. Two days later, on March 23, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Rwanda doubled overnight to thirty-six, the most in East and Central Africa. Although the government’s response has been robust, many challenges still loom as the Ministry of Health attempts to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

Mar 24, 2020

Cabo Verde braces for plummeting tourism revenue

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

When thinking of Africa, the tiny Portuguese-speaking archipelago nation of Cabo Verde probably isn’t the first country that comes to mind. But it is representative of a subset of small island nations, which rely heavily on tourism revenue. Accordingly, although Cabo Verde has only just recently confirmed its first case of COVID-19, disruptions to travel and trade present existential threats to the country’s economy.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

Mar 24, 2020

African leaders respond to coronavirus… on Twitter

AfricaSource by Luke Tyburski

African leaders have embraced Twitter as a platform to provide updates on COVID-19. This curation of their tweets is meant as a window to the continent’s evolving response.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Bronwyn Bruton

Mar 24, 2020

What does the coronavirus mean for Africa?

AfricaSource by Bronwyn Bruton

Will the novel coronavirus prove even more deadly and disruptive in Africa? It depends on the country. Bronwyn Bruton identifies the key questions and sets the stage for the Africa’s Center’s ongoing commentary on the crisis.

Africa Coronavirus

AfricaSource by Joanne Chukwueke

Feb 27, 2020

African countries prepare for a coronavirus pandemic

AfricaSource by Joanne Chukwueke

Given the alarming rate at which the novel coronavirus is spreading, it was always only a matter of time until the pandemic reached Africa. Now that it has, how prepared are African governments to contain it?

Africa Coronavirus

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