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.
The Kenyan Twitterverse turned into a furnace on 15 June after the Kenyan opposition leader, Raila Odinga, displayed his Covid-19 test results on social media and appealed to the people to take tests, sanitise and observe social distancing.
The tenth of April 2020 was a warm autumn day, and Collins Khosa, 40, was sitting in his yard at his home in the Far East Bank of Alexandra township in northern Johannesburg, enjoying a glass of beer. But then South African National Defence Force members tasked with enforcing the lockdown found him.
The COVID-19 pandemic came with its own set of rules and regulations, which anyone who chose to disobey, did at their own risk. Many of these rules infringe on rights, across the board.
A few months ago, security agents intercepted five of Ethiopia’s opposition figures at Addis Ababa airport and took them to a place where individuals contracting the coronavirus were isolated and treated.
Cameroon occupies a prominent position on the list of countries in sub-Saharan Africa badly hit by the coronavirus. By 15 June, the country had surpassed the 10,000 mark in terms of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 275 deaths.
When President Cyril Ramaphosa stepped up to the podium on 15 March 2020, to announce a National State of Disaster, 10 days after the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the country, there was a collective sigh of relief.
On 23 March, 2020 Zimbabwe recorded its first coronavirus (COVID-19) casualty, national broadcaster Zororo Makamba. The renowned and highly influential 30-year-old journalist contracted the virus during a visit to New York, and his subsequent passing created widespread panic resulting in a quick call-to-action.
Kenya was engulfed by a cloud of apprehension on 12 March 2020, when the Ministry of Health confirmed the country’s first case of coronavirus since its outbreak in China in December 2019.
“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.