Priorities for a Fair Recovery from COVID-19 in Sub-Saharan Africa
MetadataShow full item record
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world and shaken it. At the time of writing this paper, the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 dashboard reports 173,609,772 confirmed cases of COVID-19 including 3,742,653 deaths. In Africa, more than 3,580,822 COVID-19 cases and 88,585 deaths have been recorded (WHO, 2021a). With less than 4% of cases recorded on the African continent, the healthrelated impacts of the pandemic are much lower in Africa as compared to the rest of the world. African nations also appear to be more resilient to COVID-19 as compared to past pandemics caused by diseases like Ebola, yellow fever and malaria (Niang & Taylor, 2020; Mthembu, 2020). Since the onset of the pandemic, the region has increasingly cooperated with the WHO and other country partners to enforce standard operating procedures (SOPs) and other measures to effectively contain the spread of the virus. These measures include social distancing and mobility restrictions (both within and across borders), lockdowns, and curfews (WHO, 2021b). However, despite the low fatality rates from the virus, these containment measures have led the region to suffer from other unprecedented socio-economic impacts to the point of compromising the progress made towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development [UNCTAD], 2020). To address the consequences of the preventive measures put in place, countries have now introduced emergency fiscal (including fiscal stimulus packages) and monetary policies (including interest rate cuts, reserve requirement ratio cut, and direct liquidity provision) to stabilise the financial system and stimulate economic recovery (Ekeruche, 2021). The pandemic struck almost two years ago, and the world is now much more concerned with the post-COVID-19 recovery phase. Considering the steps taken by the governments in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA) thus far, this study argues that equity and inclusion must inform further policy actions to ensure a fair recovery from the pandemic. Following a review of the literature on the regional impacts of the pandemic on equity and inclusion, and an examination of current policy responses, this study proposes a set of priorities and policy recommendations to promote a fair recovery from the pandemic in SSA.