Africa is undergoing several major transitions that will shape the future of the continent. They include demographic, developmental, economic, technological, socio-political and environmental shifts which are dynamic and highly interdependent. Overall, there is a positive trend. Yet this trend is uneven between and within countries, and vulnerable to both external and internal disruptions. There are a series of structural hurdles that African countries need to address to ensure greater stability and prosperity for all.
The first two decades of the XXIst century should be remembered for their deconstruction of the ideals of a seamless or 'borderless' world that arose in the wake of the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany. Since then, in North America, Europe, South Africa, India, Australia and, not least, China, rebordering processes have become standard policy, bolstered by populist agendas and restrictions to the free movement of people within and/or across national frontiers.
While about 10,000 people in Africa were registered as positive to the coronavirus as of April 7 – a marginal figure if compared to data coming from Europe, Asia or North America – the pandemic outbreak has already had huge, multilayered and sometimes hard-to-detect impacts on the continent.
The COVID-19 pandemic continues its indiscriminate and devastating impact across the world and brings a massive economic crisis in its wake. For Africa, this is a development crisis whose impact will be felt for years to come.
The coronavirus finally arrived in sub-Saharan Africa, one of the last regions of the world to be affected by the pandemic.
With more than a million cases of COVID-19 now confirmed across the globe and 209 countries and territories affected by outbreaks of varying degrees of intensity, the world has reached a critical threshold.
As had been feared and expected, Africa was not spared from the “novel coronavirus” pandemic. The rapid spread of COVID-19 on the continent is a matter of grave concern.
As predicted by many analysts at the beginning of the pandemic, South Africa is the country most affected by the SARS-COV-2 virus in Africa. The good news is that the “Rainbow Nation” is the African country with the most testing facilities and the best-equipped hospitals across the continent. As of April 07 2020, South Africa had 1,686 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease, COVID-19, with more than 50,000 tests conducted since 5 March, when the country’s first case was confirmed.
Cases of COVID-19 in Africa represent a tiny fraction of those in other countries, but countries in the region are still taking strong action to slow the spread of the virus: closing borders, imposing curfews, closing schools, and more. These actions – along with those that other countries take to slow the spread, such as factory closings in China – have economic consequences in addition to health consequences.