This piece summarizes my contribution to an African debate. From Johannesburg to Lagos, Cairo to Dakar, Kinshasa to Kigali, Nairobi to Accra, etc the debate on how Africa should respond to the global coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic is raging.
At an African regional policy platform, I had expressed some of these (personal) views some weeks ago but have been encouraged by most members to circulate them in Africa beyond the platform.
This year 2020 begins a new decade that promises to be one of dreadful disruptions, with Africa holding the weakest end of the stick. In 2008/09, the global “great recession” was triggered by financial crisis in the US (world’s largest economy).
Then, much of Africa was said to be decoupled from the crisis and muddled through without severe devastation of its economies.
This year, a global health pandemic that has paused the global economy and certain to rail-road it into synchronized recession (if not depression) was triggered by the second largest economy, China.
Unlike before, multilateralism and global coordination framework are at their weakest. National (local) self-defence is the rule. As before, the rich world with its generous welfare system and huge financial war chest, is taking care of itself (the US alone has US$2.2 trillion stimulus package). Africa is left to its fate.