COVID-19: Challenges and Opportunities for Africa

- 13 December 2020

Trade topics: COVID 19, Economic Resilience, Trade Policy

The corona virus shocked everyone, from private institutions to governments. It presented a dual crisis which had not been experienced before, a health crisis and an economic one. The effects of the former would likely be signicficant in the short term while the effects of the latter are likely to be felt in the long term. The country and regional idiosyncrasies implies that some regions will experience a much greater shock than others. Whilst COVID19 is a global pandemic, this article discusses the challenges and opportunities that this crisis presents for Africa. On one hand, the crisis amplifies already existing Africa's weaknesses characterised by uncoordinated and dysfunctional institutions.These manifest themselves in compounded socio-economic challenges such as war, political instability, poor trade channels and systems, poverty, poor health facilities among others. On the other hand, the pandemic presents an opportunity for the continent to re-model itself and take advantage of convergence eefcts thereby 'catching-up' with emerging and advanced economies. This paper provides an overview of how Africans can transform the COVID-19 crisis into an opportunity through a coordinated approach. The lesson is that Africans must learn to work as teams or perish as individuals. [This research was published in AfricaGrowth Agenda Vol. 17, No. 3. See COVID-19 : challenges and opportunities for Africa | AfricaGrowth Agenda (]