Recession and violence among COVID side effects in Africa, report finds

Much of Africa may have been spared the death toll that COVID-19 spread to other regions, but it is now facing recession, increased violence and higher unemployment due to the pandemic, a report said Wednesday .

“The global economic stalemate has driven Africa into recession for the first time in 30 years, with severe repercussions on unemployment, poverty, inequality and food insecurity,” said the Ibrahim Forum 2021 report.

It was published before the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s annual conference this weekend, which advocates good governance in Africa.

African countries put strict travel restrictions and robust contact tracing in place at the start of the outbreak that could save millions of lives, the report said.

However, Africa was the only continent where incidents of violence increased as the pandemic progressed. Mob violence rose 78% while more than 90 people were killed by security forces who put lockdown restrictions in place, the report said.

Conflict resolution and counterinsurgency efforts have been scaled back, opening doors for extremist groups to capitalize on the outbreak by filling in the gaps left by the state.

“COVID-19 has already been incorporated into the propaganda of groups like Al Shabab and Boko Haram to justify their cause,” said Camilla Rocca, the foundation’s research director.

“You want to present yourself as a service provider, for example with Al Shabab, who opens clinics and the branch of the Islamic State in [Democratic Republic of Congo] Provide medication, ”she says.

A recovery strategy must emphasize sustainable job creation, the report says.

One solution would be for Africa to develop a vaccine manufacturing industry that could create jobs in various sectors and meet urgent healthcare needs.

“By harnessing the lessons of COVID-19, our continent can build a more sustainable, self-sufficient and inclusive future,” said Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-British billionaire at the helm of the foundation, in the report.

“[But] The youth of Africa, who are the future of our continent, must be at the center of the plan. “

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