How African governments go about the challenges of dealing with the pandemic will shape the future of the continent for many years. In this Africa in Fact series of blogs, six of our correspondents across the continent will report over the next twelve weeks on aspects of their governments’ policies and actions.
Public reaction to President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s tweet announcing the death of Lands and Agriculture minister Perrance Shiri on July 29 summarised the polarised nature of the Zimbabwean society, while also serving as a barometer of the effectiveness of government policies in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
Pressure has been piling up on the Kenya government to accelerate the national roll-out of its proposed Universal Health Coverage (UHC) plan in the wake of the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Few issues highlight the dilemma of policy-making more than the choices faced by African governments during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Prior to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Cameroon, an oil exporter with a bloated bureaucracy, was still reeling from the 2014-2016 oil price collapse – one of the most significant oil price slumps in modern times.
Itika Teferi, a singer in Afan Oromo, one of the widely spoken languages in Ethiopia, found himself inside the Millennium Hall, a kilometre away from Addis Ababa’s international airport, a couple of weeks ago.
On 7 January, 2020, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) published an article about ‘The top 10 crises the world should be watching in 2020.’
Kenya launched an ambitious plan dubbed Kazi Mtaani in early June that sought to shield thousands of jobless young people from the biting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
South Africa already had a hunger crisis before the Covid-19 pandemic struck. As early as 2014, Oxfam reported that one in four South Africans went to bed hungry every day.
“Wicked problems” can arise in many facets of life and many levels of decision-making, including economic policy, politics, business management and urban planning. Leaders and their governments around Africa have come up with very different approaches to the C-19 pandemic, from denial to obfuscation to strict lockdowns that have impacted on civil rights. In Round 1 of this GGA/Africa in Fact series of blogs, writers in six African countries describe their impressions of their government’s leadership style in the face of the ongoing pandemic.
“Wicked problems” are complex, multi-facetted problems in policy and decision-making that may have no single definition or solution. The C-19 pandemic is not only a global public health crisis; it is also has the potential to severely test the institutions of society and how they operate. In Round 2 of this GGA/Africa in Fact series of blogs, writers in six African countries look at some of the dilemmas and temptations faced by African governments attempting to uphold the rule of law, while protecting their citizens.
“Wicked problems” have become an endemic feature of contemporary life partly because of the increasing interdependence of countries around the world. The C-19 pandemic, indeed, is an example, having severely impacted production, trade and jobs globally. Africa, with 33 of the world’s poorest developing countries, faces particular economic challenges. In Round 3 of this GGA/Africa in Fact series of blogs, writers in six African countries review various approaches of African governments to shielding their economies, while also adopting measures to contain the virus.
“Wicked problems” can result in very different “wicked solutions”, depending on where and how decision-makers start addressing them. Aside from climate change, the C-19 pandemic is perhaps the greatest crisis the world has faced as a whole. With its often poorly developed health care systems, Africa is no exception. In Round 4 of this GGA/Africa in Fact series of blogs, writers in six African countries consider the public health care measures adopted by different countries, and ask what is being learned from the pandemic.
“Wicked problems” involve many stakeholder groups in society, whose values, beliefs and interests can be at odds, and even conflictual. Globally, the C-19 pandemic is revealing existing fault lines in society and making them more severe. In particular, inequality is likely to grow, everywhere. In Round 5 of this GGA/Africa in Fact series of blogs, writers in six African countries look at the extent to which their governments are trying to address social instability, while adopting public health measures to contain the virus.
“Wicked problems” in decision-making often have no “right” or “wrong” solution – only solutions that are better or worse in context. If anything, the C-19 pandemic has certainly been, and will continue to be, a “stress test” of governments’ capacity to protect their citizens, and this includes Africa. In Round 6 of this GGA/Africa in Fact series of blogs, writers in six African countries note the inherent complexity and lack of clarity that our policymakers have had to face, and ask whether lessons have been learned for the future.