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  • Author: Gilles Carbonnier
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Georgetown Journal of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Illicit financial flows significantly erode the tax base of resource-rich developing countries, which do not have the means to invest in public health, education, and sustainable development. In this column, the author presents the latest research findings and policy implications and discusses some of the most promising avenues to effectively curb illicit financial flows, strengthening the nexus between trade and tax governance.
  • Topic: Development, Environment, Human Rights, Financial Crimes, Trade, Development Aid, Sustainability, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mehdi Lahlou
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The coronavirus pandemic has turned into a global economic crisis with severe social effects in the least developed countries, particularly in Africa. Pre-existing challenges related to widespread poverty, demographic growth, food insecurity and governance issues have been exacerbated by the pandemic. While migration remains one of the key elements of the partnership agenda between Africa and the European Union, the aggravating socioeconomic situation in the African continent due to the impact of COVID-19 and its implications for migration dynamics requires going beyond business-as-usual approaches. The renewed scenario calls for a more comprehensive and development-oriented approach to migration, requiring new policy initiatives addressing the wider set of conditions that, beyond constituting developmental challenges in their own right, also drive migration in North Africa as well as in Sub-Saharan African countries.
  • Topic: Economics, Migration, European Union, Mobility, Asylum, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, North Africa
  • Author: Midori Okabe
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: Human migration is a peaceful means of sustaining individuals' lives and promoting social success. However, it is also a human security issue that shows no sign of resolution. According to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than eight million people worldwide had been forcibly displaced as of mid-20201. Even during the coronavirus pandemic, forced displacement resulting from persecution has been reported in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Somalia, Yemen and other countries in the region of Africa commonly referred to as "the Sahel".
  • Topic: Migration, United Nations, Refugees, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Yemen, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Syria, Somalia
  • Author: Julia Leininger, Christoph Strupat, Yonas Adeto, Abebe Shimeles, Wilson Wasike
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: German Development Institute (DIE)
  • Abstract: Direct and indirect effects' of the Covid-19 pandemic on the prospects of structural transformation in Africa are at the core of this study. It is comprehensive and identifies patterns of country groups. Social cohesion matters for effective policy responses and longer-term sustainable development.
  • Topic: Sustainable Development Goals, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mma Amara Ekeruchera
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa (CSEA)
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 outbreak began in December 2019 in the Wuhan city of China and has continued to spread globally. As of this writing, 28.2 million cases have been recorded globally with 910,000 deaths. Aside the health impact, the pandemic has led to an unprecedented disruption in economic activities, initiating a sudden demand, supply, and financial shock. The mitigation strategies put in place by governments across the world to curb the virus as well as the uncertainty associated with the pandemic has led to a reduction in the consumption of non-essential commodities. Meanwhile, disruptions to global supply chains in a closely connected world as well as the reduced demand have necessitated a slowdown in production. Furthermore, investors have become more risk averse with the prices of risk assets falling to levels experienced in the 2007-20008 global financial crisis. To counteract the fall in private sector demand, stabilize the financial system, and ensure economic recovery, governments and central banks across the world have deployed a range of policies and programmes. Central banks are cutting policy rates and providing direct liquidity to the financial system. Federal and sub-national governments are providing tax relief, cash transfers, and employee retention schemes to alleviate the burden on affected individuals and businesses. Africa is not left behind as governments have increased spending plans (about 1.9% of their GDP) and central banks are adopting more accommodating monetary policies.
  • Topic: Economics, Health, Monetary Policy, Central Bank, Macroeconomics, Pandemic, COVID-19, Socioeconomics , Supply Chains
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jasmina Brankovic
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: The Fourth African Transitional Justice Forum, held 0n 26–28 October 2020, addressed the state of transitional justice on the continent, specifically its contribution to the African Union's 2020 theme of the year, "Silencing the Guns," amid the challenges and opportunities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Forum panels focused on development, violent extremism, victims' experiences and fundraising in relation to African-led transitional justice.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Violent Extremism, Transitional Justice, Peace, Reconciliation , Pandemic, African Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Olivier Kambala
  • Publication Date: 06-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: This policy paper explores the situation of victims vis-à-vis transitional justice processes in selected African countries when COVID-19 appeared. It looks at the performance of these transitional justice processes and attempts to ascertain the prospects for the African Union Transitional Justice Policy (AUTJP) to improve remedies for victims. It also suggests ways to orient the AUTJP's scope to alleviate victims' plight, including through synchronisation with other regional processes, during and beyond COVID-19.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Transitional Justice, Public Health, Pandemic, African Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Jasmina Brankovic, Augustine Njamnshi, Christoph Schwarte
  • Publication Date: 07-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: The Covid-19 pandemic has created human suffering on a global scale, but also a window of opportunity to rethink how we live, work and play. For the time being, calls for a green recovery that builds back better by cutting greenhouse gas emissions, protecting the environment and creating a fairer, more equitable society have become commonplace. This could help to build new momentum in international efforts to combat climate change and rebuild lost trust and goodwill between parties in the intergovernmental negotiations through new collective approaches. If we are serious about creating a better future, transitional justice can provide some important guidance on the way forward. It would provide a framework to deal with past inequitable use of the global environment in a transparent and inclusive manner and shape a new path of international solidarity and collaboration. This paper provides a brief overview of the concept of transitional justice, its techniques and potential relevance in the climate negotiation context.
  • Topic: Climate Change, International Cooperation, Transitional Justice, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Steven Rebello, Jesse Copelyn, Sinqobile Makhathini, Boikanyo Moloto
  • Publication Date: 08-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR)
  • Abstract: Militarisation refers to a process where societies (states, institutions, and citizens) prioritise, organise, prepare for and respond to threats or crises with military action or violence. This policy brief highlights how many countries across the world, including South Africa, adopted a militarised response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In South Africa, this militarised response has been noted by the deployment of the SANDF to assist with the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations as well as through the noticeable increase in the use of excessive force in response to protests.
  • Topic: Disaster Relief, Protests, Violence, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, South Africa
  • Author: Owen Mangiza, Joshua Chakawa
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD)
  • Abstract: This Policy and Practice Brief (PPB) discusses the implications of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on border communities, principally in relation to border controls by governments and trans-border activities by community members living close to the border in Zimbabwe.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Border Control, Pandemic, Community, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Alexandre Kateb
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Robert Schuman Foundation (RSF)
  • Abstract: According to official statistics, the African continent has been relatively spared by the Covid-19 pandemic compared to Europe, America and Asia. The factors behind the low incidence of coronavirus in Africa are not fully understood. According to the WHO, the African continent has benefited from certain structural factors such as the limited international connectivity of most African countries, with the exception of some regional "hubs" such as Johannesburg, Casablanca, Addis Ababa and Nairobi. Incidentally, the most 'connected' African countries such as Morocco and South Africa have incurred the highest prevalence rates of Covid-19, which may lend credence to this explanation.
  • Topic: International Relations, European Union, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe
  • Author: Jeremy Bowles, Horacio Larreguy, Shelley Liu
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University
  • Abstract: We examine how information from trusted social media sources can shape knowledge and behavior when misinformation and mistrust are widespread. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic in Zimbabwe, we partnered with a trusted civil society organization to randomize the timing of the dissemination of messages aimed at targeting misinformation about the COVID-19 virus to 27,000 newsletter WhatsApp subscribers. We examine how exposure to these messages affects individual beliefs about how to deal with the COVID-19 virus and preventative behavior. The results show that social media messaging from trusted sources may have substantively large effects on not only individual knowledge but also ultimately on related behavior.
  • Topic: Science and Technology, Internet, Social Media, Pandemic, COVID-19, Misinformation , WhatsApp
  • Political Geography: Africa, Zimbabwe
  • Author: Richard Gowan, Louise Riis Andersen
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: With a global recession looming due to COVID-19,the large blue-helmet UN missions will be harder to sustain, both financially and politically. So the UN is learning to “think small”. Recommendations ■ The Secretariat should work with member states to improve the UN’s mechanisms for deploying bespoke, case-specific peace operations and SPMs at short notice. ■ Member states should stand ready to deploy small numbers of military and police personnel to serve in more flexible forms of UN operations and to offer specialized expertise and training as requested. ■ Member states should pay their respective share of the UN peacekeeping budget on time and increase their voluntary contributions.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Mali, South Sudan
  • Author: Hans Lucht, Tekalign Ayalew Mengiste
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: Following the 2018 peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea more than 60,000 Eritrean refugees arrived in Ethiopia. Thousands continue to arrive every month. They live under harsh conditions that call for humanitarian action. KEY TAKEAWAYS: Vulnerable Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia, women, elderly, disabled, and children need urgent humanitarian assistance, including shelters, food, water, sanitation, energy, and health care. Funds are needed for UNHCR, partner organizations, and ARRA to address continuous refugee arrivals in Ethiopia and the challenges posed by COVID-19. Donor countries should put pressure on Ethiopia to reintroduce prima facie recognition and allow access to protection, while resettlement quotas abroad should be increased. Humanitarian support and emergency shelters should be provided in transit locations for smuggled and trafficked Eritreans in need of urgent protection.
  • Topic: Humanitarian Aid, Treaties and Agreements, Refugees, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Ethiopia, Eritrea
  • Author: Odd Helge Fjeldstad, Ole Therkildsen
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Danish Institute for International Studies
  • Abstract: In the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, the need in poor countries in Africa for more revenues is obvious and growing - also because aid agencies are quite stingy in assisting them in this crisis. The pandemic’s negative impact on revenues is especially pronounced in countries that are most dependent on international trade, tourism and petroleum exports. The good news is that sub-Saharan African tax collectors have performed almost as well as their peers in the much wealthier Latin America and substantially better than in South Asian countries. Increased domestic revenue mobilisation (DRM) in poor African countries is possible depending on the country’s specific situation and political economy - but it will not be easy: The IMF’s position is that increasing the tax-to-GDP ratio by five percentage points by 2030 is a reasonable aspiration for poor countries. That was unrealistic before Covid-19: it is even more so now. No silver bullet ('tax the rich'!) will generate substantial additional revenues on its own. Better utilisation of a range of revenues sources is needed. A stop for Illicit Financial Flows will clearly help, but is not the golden egg that many believe. Inequality may increase due to Covid-19. However, major redistribution through domestic taxation (as in the Danish welfare state model) is unrealistic in countries with low revenue-to-GDP ratios. Nor is there strong organised political support for such redistribution in poor African countries. Donor support to DRM in poor countries can provide manifold returns on investments if targeted strategically. Support to relevant local and international civil society organisations is also important to help to foster public engagement in tax reforms and improved fiscal accountability. The Sustainable Development Goals in poor countries are strongly under-financed. The progress and sustainability of the SDGs will increasingly depend on poor countries’ own revenues. Hence the centrality of strategically relevant donor support to DRM.
  • Topic: Poverty, Inequality, Sustainable Development Goals, Tax Systems, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, Nendirmwa Noel
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Center on International Cooperation
  • Abstract: Lockdown measures have been an integral tool in the fight against COVID-19. But they come at a high cost, given their impacts on economies, employment and incomes, education, food systems, mental health and even the potential for civil unrest. This policy briefing by Sarah Cliffe, Paul von Chamier, and Nendirmwa Noel examines how countries are balancing the need for lockdown with policy measures to alleviate their effects and plans for reopening. It provides comparative data on the stringency of lockdowns, showing that while there has been a convergence towards more stringent measures over time, there is also wide variation among countries—even among those in the same region, or income group. A brief case study of Sierra Leone and snapshot examples of policy from ten other countries illustrates the range of answers to the question of how much lockdown is enough.
  • Topic: Employment, Economy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sierra Leone, Global Focus
  • Author: Cedric H. de Coning
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The African Union is coordinating the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19 in Africa, but the measures introduced are also significantly disrupting the reforms, programmes and operations of the AU.
  • Topic: International Organization, African Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Cedric H. de Coning
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Between the African Union, European Union, OSCE, NATO and United Nations there are approximately 160,000 civilian, police and military personnel deployed in more than 50 missions. These missions have all been forced to take unprecedented steps to adapt and cope with the COVID-19 pandemic. This may be just the beginning and much more significant reductions and changes in the way these operations function may be needed over the coming months.
  • Topic: United Nations, International Affairs, European Union, African Union, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Frida Bjørneseth, Morten Bøås, Henriette U. Erstad, Alessia Iocchi, Kari M. Osland
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: What lessons can we draw from the 2014-2016 Ebola crisis in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone? While both the outbreak itself and the context is different, there are enough similarities between the Ebola crisis and COVID-19 to extract useful lessons and best practices. In this research note, the focus is on three key lessons from the Ebola experience: community engagement, crisis communication and countering the rumour mill. In the world’s most fragile states, an uncontrolled outbreak of COVID-19 would have devastating consequences for the population. In a scenario where the spread of the coronavirus is under control in large parts of the world, the survival of COVID-19 in fragile states would also most certainly be a source for new waves of infections to the rest of the world. Not only do fragile states lack capacity to react adequately on their own, but their ability to utilise external support and assistance is limited due to low absorption capacity.
  • Topic: Ebola, Crisis Management, Public Health, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Cedric H. de Coning
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Norwegian Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly disrupted UN peacekeeping operations. In the short-term, activities have been reduced to the most critical, rotations have been frozen, and most staff are working remotely. Most of the missions have adapted remarkably well, but even more extreme changes are likely in the medium term, as the global economic recession that will follow in the wake of the virus may force UN peace operations to drastically contract in size and scope.
  • Topic: United Nations, Peacekeeping, Peace, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Global Focus
  • Author: Paul Cruickshank, Don Rassler, Audrey Alexander, Chelsea Daymon, Meili Criezis, Christopher Hockey, Michael Jones, Mark Dubowitz, Saeed Ghasseminejad, Nikita Malik
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: COVID-19 is arguably the biggest crisis the planet has faced since the Second World War and will likely have significant impacts on international security in ways which can and cannot be anticipated. For this special issue on COVID-19 and counterterrorism, we convened five of the best and brightest thinkers in our field for a virtual roundtable on the challenges ahead. In the words of Magnus Ranstorp, “COVID-19 and extremism are the perfect storm.” According to another of the panelists, Lieutenant General (Ret) Michael Nagata, “the time has come to acknowledge the stark fact that despite enormous expenditures of blood/treasure to ‘kill, capture, arrest’ our way to strategic counterterrorism success, there are more terrorists globally today than on 9/11, and COVID-19 will probably lead to the creation of more.” Audrey Kurth Cronin put it this way: “COVID-19 is a boost to non-status quo actors of every type. Reactions to the pandemic—or more specifically, reactions to governments’ inability to respond to it effectively—are setting off many types of political violence, including riots, hate crimes, intercommunal tensions, and the rise of criminal governance. Terrorism is just one element of the growing political instability as people find themselves suffering economically, unable to recreate their pre-COVID lives.” The roundtable identified bioterrorism as a particular concern moving forward, with Juan Zarate noting that “the severity and extreme disruption of a novel coronavirus will likely spur the imagination of the most creative and dangerous groups and individuals to reconsider bioterrorist attacks.” Ali Soufan warned that “although the barriers to entry for terrorists to get their hands on bio weapons remain high, they are gradually being lowered due to technological advances and the democratization of science.” The special issue also features five articles. Audrey Alexander examines the security threat COVID-19 poses to the northern Syria detention camps holding Islamic State members, drawing on a wide range of source materials, including recent interviews she conducted with General Mazloum Abdi, the top commander of the SDF, and former U.S. CENTCOM Commander Joseph Votel. Chelsea Daymon and Meili Criezis untangle the pandemic narratives spun by Islamic State supporters online. Christopher Hockey and Michael Jones assess al-Shabaab’s response to the spread of COVID-19 in Somalia. Mark Dubowitz and Saeed Ghasseminejad document how the Iranian regime has spread disinformation relating to the pandemic. Finally, Nikita Malik discusses the overlaps between pandemic preparedness and countering terrorism from a U.K. perspective.
  • Topic: Communications, Governance, Counter-terrorism, Media, Islamic State, Crisis Management, Al Shabaab, Pandemic, COVID-19, Disinformation
  • Political Geography: Africa, United Kingdom, Iran, Middle East, Syria, Global Focus
  • Author: Seth G. Jones, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon, Jason Warner, Ryan O'Farrell, Heni Nsaibia, Ryan Cummings
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: CTC Sentinel
  • Institution: The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point
  • Abstract: In this month’s feature article, Seth Jones examines the evolving threat posed by the Taliban in Afghanistan. “The Taliban is in many ways a different organization from the one that governed Afghanistan in the 1990s. Yet most of their leaders are nevertheless committed to an extreme interpretation of Islam that is not shared by many Afghans, an autocratic political system that eschews democracy, and the persistence of relations with terrorist groups like al-Qa`ida. These realities cast serious doubt about the possibility of a lasting peace agreement with the Afghan government in the near future,” he writes, adding that “without a peace deal, the further withdrawal of U.S. forces—as highlighted in the November 17, 2020, announcement to cut U.S. forces from 4,500 to 2,500 troops—will likely shift the balance of power in favor of the Taliban. With continuing support from Pakistan, Russia, Iran, and terrorist groups like al-Qa`ida, it is the view of the author that the Taliban would eventually overthrow the Afghan government in Kabul.” In a feature commentary, Hamish de Bretton-Gordon outlines the urgent action needed on biosecurity in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. He writes: “For years, the United States and many other countries have neglected biosecurity because policymakers have underestimated both the potential impact and likelihood of biological threats. COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on the planet and could be followed by outbreaks of even more dangerous viral diseases. Meanwhile, advances in synthetic biology are transforming the potential threat posed by engineered pathogens, creating growing concern over biological attacks and bioterror. Given the scale of the threat, biosecurity needs to be a top priority moving forward. Not only do efforts need to be stepped up to try to prevent the next pandemic (natural or engineered), but resilience needs to be built by developing early warning systems, the capacity to track outbreaks, and medical countermeasures, including ‘next generation’ vaccines.” He stresses that “winning public acceptance for public health measures will be imperative to tackling biological emergencies in the future.” Jason Warner, Ryan O’Farrell, Héni Nsaibia, and Ryan Cummings assess the evolution of the Islamic State threat across Africa. They write that “the annus horribilis Islamic State Central suffered in 2019, during which the group lost the last stretch of its ‘territorial caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria and its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed, does not appear to have had a discernible impact on the overall operational trajectory of the Islamic State threat in Africa” underscoring “that while connections were built up between Islamic State Central and its African affiliates—with the former providing, at times, some degree of strategic direction, coordination, and material assistance—the latter have historically evolved under their own steam and acted with a significant degree of autonomy.”
  • Topic: Terrorism, Biosecurity, Taliban, Counter-terrorism, Islamic State, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Afghanistan, Africa, Middle East
  • Author: Atif Choudhury, Yawei Liu, Ian Pilcher
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: The Carter Center
  • Abstract: In May 2020, the Carter Center’s China Program partnered with the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) to organize a virtual workshop on Africa-U.S.-China cooperation on COVID-19 response. The workshop brought together a range of experts from the U.S, China, Ethiopia, Burundi, Kenya, and South Africa to discuss the public health impact and wider policy implications of the COVID-19 pandemic on the African continent. Emory University’s Global Health Institute and The Hunger Project also helped identify speakers and moderate panels.
  • Topic: International Cooperation, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, United States, China, Asia, South Africa, North America, Ethiopia, Burundi
  • Author: Harvey Galper, Reehana Raza
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Urban Institute
  • Abstract: On March 13, Kenya reported its first case of COVID-19, and an additional 649 cases were reported in the following two months. As the pandemic spreads, Kenya’s policymakers are facing the first significant challenge to the country’s nascent intergovernmental system and will have to prioritize how to spend the country’s scarce resources amid existing fiscal constraints. Established in 2013, Kenya’s decentralized government structure gives the country’s 47 counties the primary responsibility of delivering health care services to their citizens. But historical and geographical factors have led to substantial variation across counties in both health care capacity and risk of contracting the coronavirus. To make critical decisions to control the pandemic, Kenya’s policymakers will need not only accurate data on the spread of the coronavirus but also county-specific data and analyses on health care capacity and population risk. With such county-level data, the national government can flatten the curve and better allocate the country’s limited resources in line with individual counties' circumstances.
  • Topic: Health, Population, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa
  • Author: Sunguta West
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: The Jamestown Foundation
  • Abstract: Al-Shabaab’s recent attack targeting Somalia’s head of the military is the latest indication of the Islamist militant group’s growing confidence in its battle for control of the war-torn country in the Horn of Africa. Al-Shabaab, the al-Qaeda affiliate in East Africa, has been waging a deadly insurgency in the country for 14 years. Its weapons of choice have ranged from improvised explosive devices (IED) and vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs), to deploying suicide bombers to target security forces, public installations, and government officials. Its war is largely asymmetrical, where it also relies on hit and run attacks, assassinations, and grenade attacks.
  • Topic: Terrorism, Islamism, Al Shabaab, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Somalia
  • Author: Jędrzej Czerep
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: A deep recession is projected for Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the market for new technologies providing solutions helpful during the health crisis, is developing dynamically. In the medium term, the research and development sector will gain importance and become attractive for investments, also for Polish companies.
  • Topic: Development, Science and Technology, Research, Business , COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Poland, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Łukasz Maślanka
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: The Polish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Following an increase of COVID-19 cases in Africa, France wants to present itself as the main advocate of a humanitarian aid plan and the broadly discussed proposal of mass debt relief for the continent. In its political dimension, the move highlights the international role of France and the EU. It can also contribute to decreasing the dependence of African states on China. If it succeeds, President Emmanuel Macron can go forward with his initiative to reform the global governance system, especially the UN, and to emphasize the importance of the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood Policy.
  • Topic: Debt, Humanitarian Aid, Multilateralism, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, France
  • Author: Francesco Petrone
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Journal Article
  • Journal: The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development
  • Institution: Centre for Strategic Research and Analysis (CESRAN)
  • Abstract: In a moment of great global uncertainty, the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) are increasing their standing worldwide. Despite several areas that still undermine their credibility on the world stage and which make them appear to seem irrelevant as a group in the view of some scholars, we try to analyze and evaluate if they are really accountable as a group and what impact they could have on global governance and, in general, on the global order. We depart from previous research accomplishments and, following certain classical theories of International Relations such as those of Critical and Dependence, we consider three aspects of the BRICS growth that could influence the current international framework: 1) the emergence of institutions outside the Bretton Woods system; 2) an interest in improving their “soft power” (for example, climate change may play a decisive role here); 3) the growth of their presence in different parts of the world which have so far experienced a subordinated or marginal role. The paper considers both the limitations of and the potential for BRICS countries in the reshaping of the international framework. Moreover, we provide some interpretations to the current situation, especially in light of the prospective impact that COVID-19 may have on these three fields.
  • Topic: Climate Change, Emerging Markets, Governance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, India, Asia, Brazil, South America, South African
  • Author: Michael Asiedu
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Global Political Trends Center
  • Abstract: Almost all African countries rolled out significant measure in response to Covid-19. From border closures through to the use of personal protective equipment (PPEs) to restricted gatherings and contact tracing, a combination of diverse public health safety strategies was employed. These same strategies nonetheless would make preparations toward holding smooth and timely elections cumbersome. Ghana’s electoral commissioner announced an indefinite postponement of its voter registration exercise, it is still in consultation with stakeholders on carrying out the exercise with only six months to its presidential and parliamentary elections if the timeline stays the same. Niger also suspended its voter registration exercise; Ethiopia postponed its elections entirely. Other countries that have had some forms of election postponement include Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Kenya.
  • Topic: Elections, Democracy, Crisis Management, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Kenya, Africa, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Ghana
  • Author: Loïc Bisson
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: Countries in West Africa were quick to take strong prevention and mitigation measures to stem the spread of COVID-19. But border closure, curfew, market closure and limited internal movement already impact key value chains in the region and threaten livelihoods. It risks lowering decent working conditions and labour rights and increasing child labour and gender violence. Informal, migrant and female workers are especially at risk and are likely to take the brunt of the economic downturn. Disruptions in the food value chain also endangers food security in the region. Instability in West Africa threatens both European and Dutch economic, security and geopolitical interests. By virtue of being involved in various West African value chains, European and Dutch consumers and companies bear both leverage and responsibilities in regard to secure livelihoods, good working conditions free of gender violence and respect for labour rights in West Africa.
  • Topic: Labor Issues, Fragile States, Global Value Chains, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, West Africa
  • Author: Loïc Bisson
  • Publication Date: 07-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Clingendael Netherlands Institute of International Relations
  • Abstract: In the Sahel, market closures, border closures and movement restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19 have disrupted the structurally weak pastoral sector, already made vulnerable by conflict. There are several signs of the negative impacts of COVID-19, such as difficulties in moving food and people, poor access to markets, rising food prices and loss of livelihoods. In Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad, the pandemic adds to ongoing problems of conflict and political instability. The threat to pastoralists is to lose their herds through overgrazing, zoo-sanitary diseases or lack of income to feed the animals. If pastoralists go bankrupt, they could be forced to sell their livestock at devastatingly low prices to large landholders or wealthy neo-pastoralists. This scenario would aggravate an already-growing trend in the region – escalating economic inequality and the consolidation of wealth among an elite. This risks fuelling inequality and deepening existing fault lines. The priority for Sahelian governments should be clear: keep food coming and people moving, and develop a post-COVID-19 strategy to tackle the vulnerabilities revealed by the pandemic.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Poverty, Conflict, Pastoralism, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sahel
  • Author: Giovanni Carbone, Michele D'Alessandro, Zemalak A. Ayele, Giovanni Putoto, David Styan, Michael Woldemariam, Afyare A. Elmi, Abdi M. Hersi, Aleksi Ylönen, Alexander Meckelburg, Camillo Casola
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI)
  • Abstract: In the context of the disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Horn of Africa remains one of the most dynamic and intriguing regions on the African continent. The political processes currently under way – including the recent conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region – have deep implications that reflect on the domestic equilibria within the area’s core states - Ethiopia itself, but also Eritrea, Somalia and Djibouti – as well as on the relations among them. The nature and extent of involvement by external, non-African players is bound to be affected too. How is the Horn of Africa changing, following the leadership transition in Ethiopia? What are the main political and security prospects for the region and for the states belonging to it? And how will ongoing dynamics impact on European political strategies?
  • Topic: Hegemony, Geopolitics, State Building, Domestic Policy, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea, Horn of Africa
  • Author: Valerie Niquet
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Japan Institute Of International Affairs (JIIA)
  • Abstract: China plays a significant role in Africa, particularly in Ethiopia, where the current Director-General of the WHO was Minister of Health and then Minister of Foreign Affairs. This opaque influence and the support given by Beijing to Dr. Tedros seems to have weighed on the positions taken by the WHO in the face of the Covid 19 crisis. The consequences of these decisions are now being felt worldwide and contribute to undermining the credibility of a fragile multilateral system.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, United Nations, World Health Organization, Multilateralism, Soft Power, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Asia
  • Author: Michael Belafi
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: African debt relief has repeatedly appeared in news around the world over the past month. Recently, the debate has come to Canada and the Government has claimed they’re considering it. Here are two reasons why Canada should pursue African debt relief.
  • Topic: Debt, International Cooperation, Economic Cooperation, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Canada, North America
  • Author: Alexandra de Sousa
  • Publication Date: 06-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Council on International Policy (CIP)
  • Abstract: At this juncture, all findings and projections must be interpreted with caution since our understanding of COVID-19 is evolving, and today’s assumptions may not hold. Nearly six months have passed since this virus has garnered attention and there continue to be numerous key questions immunologists, virologists and epidemiologists have trouble answering. Among them is how COVID-19 will evolve in Africa. As of the time of writing, the number of cases that SARS-Cov-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, officially inflicted in Africa is so low[1] that it has been labeled the silent epidemic. The optimists point to the continent’s natural advantages of youth and weather, and its public health experience and resourcefulness[2] as reasons for such low numbers, while the skeptics point to a lack of infrastructure, including testing capacity.
  • Topic: Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Josep Borrell
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: European Council On Foreign Relations
  • Abstract: The pandemic will likely magnify existing geopolitical dynamics and test the strength of Europe’s democratic systems. Europe needs a new kind of globalisation capable of striking a balance between the advantages of open markets and interdependence, and between the sovereignty and security of countries. Europe should work to prevent the US-China rivalry from having negative repercussions in certain regions of the world – particularly Africa. European leaders need to focus on meeting the immediate needs of healthcare systems, providing an income for people who cannot work, and giving businesses guarantees. The European model will only mean something in the eyes of the world if we can successfully promote solidarity among EU member states.
  • Topic: Globalization, Geopolitics, Coronavirus, Pandemic, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, China, Europe, United States of America
  • Author: Mehari Taddele Maru
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: For many African countries, prevention of Coronavirus has no alterative as financial and structural demands of treatment far exceed capabilities. Without stricter measures, the infection curve will be exponential and flattening it will take a long time with more deaths.
  • Topic: Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa
  • Author: Mohammed Issam Laaroussi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Al Jazeera Center for Studies
  • Abstract: Tremendous socio-economic and political challenges are facing Morocco during the Coronavirus crisis. Regardless of the promising signs of a short-term momentum in unity and institutional trust, the institutional weaknesses in the public policy and healthcare system have not disappeared.
  • Topic: Politics, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Arab Countries, Morocco
  • Author: Emily Gilfillan
  • Publication Date: 12-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI)
  • Abstract: COVID-19 has created unprecedented challenges for governments around the world. In March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak of COVID-19 a pandemic. In addition to a worldwide health crisis, the pandemic has had far-reaching socioeconomic impacts that have been severest for the most vulnerable people and have exacerbated existing inequalities. This presents wealthy countries like Canada with a challenge: addressing the health crisis and economic fallout at home, while simultaneously supporting a global COVID-19 response and continuing to tackle existing development priorities. This report explores the implications of COVID-19 for Canada’s development assistance efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Given that 27 of the 28 poorest countries in the world are located in SSA and half of Canada’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget is expected to go to countries in Africa by 2021-22, it is a priority region. To date, Canada has maintained ODA spending levels, while also providing additional funds in support of global efforts to address COVID-19. Evidence suggests that pre-pandemic priorities in the region, such as gender equality, health, and food security, have not been derailed. Rather, the impact of the pandemic has reinforced the importance of core development objectives such as achieving the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In particular, Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) is fit for purpose to address the gendered impact of the pandemic. It is clear that the pandemic does not affect men and women equally. While the right policy tools are in place, building back better will require Canadian resolve and leadership to stay the course and ensure the most vulnerable are not left behind.
  • Topic: Development, Gender Issues, Finance, COVID-19, Health Crisis
  • Political Geography: Africa, Canada, North America, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Rina Bassist
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Commentary and Analysis
  • Institution: Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
  • Abstract: For our latest issue of Ifriqiya, Rina Bassist discusses the immediate economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sub-Saharan Africa, and raises awareness of the threat of a prolonged crisis both for wealthier countries and for the poorest countries in that region.
  • Topic: Economy, Crisis Management, Coronavirus, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa
  • Author: Dris Nouri
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic to Algeria has forced the Algerian popular Hirak to suspend demonstrations that continued without interruption for over a year despite the authorities’ various manoeuvres to disrupt them. This paper examines the Algerian authorities’ attempt to exploit the suspension of the protests to deal with the Hirak and assesses the ability of the popular movement to overcome this period.
  • Topic: Protests, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19, Oppression
  • Political Geography: Africa, Algeria
  • Author: Fadi El-Jardali
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: In the Arab region, countries have become increasingly dependent on non-state actors, notably the private sector, for healthcare provision and any response that includes the State alone may not be sufficient to address the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper explores how state and non-state actors in Arab countries have collaborated so far and suggests ways forward to ensure quality healthcare services for all.
  • Topic: Non State Actors, Governance, Health Care Policy, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Middle East
  • Author: Eya Jrad
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: With COVID-19, Tunisia is dealing with an unprecedented emergency that is testing its newly established democratic institutions. This paper explores how Tunisia’s different institutions have responded so far to the crisis, and sheds light on how each is trying to assert its role under the exceptional circumstances imposed by the pandemic.
  • Topic: Governance, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Salma Houerbi
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The consequences of Covid-19 on Tunisia’s already fragile economy are bound to exacerbate existing social tensions. The government has rolled out a series of socio-economic measures to support individual entrepreneurs and businesses to maintain jobs and incomes across all sectors. This paper argues that the government’s support to the private sector represents a golden opportunity to rectify longstanding problems in state-business relations and institute a culture of corporate accountability. But to do so, the government should place the Covid-19 response within a broader effort to address the persistent and systemic challenges the country faces from corruption to rent-seeking to vulnerable workers’ conditions.
  • Topic: Public Health, Humanitarian Crisis, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Khayreddine Basha
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: The military conflict between Haftar and GNA forces in Libya continues to escalate, unaffected by Covid-19 or international calls for a ceasefire. A lack of coordination between the fighting parties and the ineffective implementation of measures to fight the spread of the pandemic further compound Libya’s worsening humanitarian situation. This paper explores Covid-19 impact on the health and humanitarian situation in Libya and examines the factors that contribute to the continuation of the conflict, including the incitement of international and regional actors involved in it.
  • Topic: Military Strategy, Conflict, Public Health, Humanitarian Crisis, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Libya
  • Author: Ezman Kunna
  • Publication Date: 05-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Sudan’s current transitional government has inherited a fragile health system that suffered years of neglect and underinvestment. The spread of COVID-19 poses important challenges to the country’s health and political structures. This Q&A looks at how Sudan’s government and non-government actors are faring against the spread of the pandemic and the impact of the lockdown on the political transition in the country.
  • Topic: Political stability, Public Health, Pandemic, Transition, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Sudan
  • Author: Afef Hammami Marrakchi
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: What role can local authorities in Tunisia play as part of the country’s response to Covid-19? This paper examines the opportunities offered to Tunisian municipalities (communes) by the Local Government Act but also the real constraints – human, logistical, and financial – that these new devolved structures face as they seek to play a key role in the recovery.
  • Topic: Recovery, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Ishac Diwan, Nadim Houry, Yezid Sayigh
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Egypt’s recent security and macro-economic stabilization has been built on weak foundations and Covid-19 has further exposed this fragility. Egypt is now back to a situation broadly similar to that before the 2011 revolution: stable on the surface, but with deep structural problems and simmering social grievances, and little buffers to mitigate them. This paper argues for a major shift in the ways the country is currently governed in favour of greater openness in politics and markets, and for the international community to seriously engage Egypt on the need to reform economically and politically.
  • Topic: Security, Arab Spring, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Egypt
  • Author: Alessandra Bajec
  • Publication Date: 11-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Arab Reform Initiative (ARI)
  • Abstract: Tunisian women in rural areas have played a vital role in maintaining food security during the coronavirus pandemic but continue to suffer exploitation and exclusion. While their working conditions are already known for being dire, the public health crisis has compounded their economic and social insecurity. This paper discusses the systemic exploitative treatment of female agricultural workers, the state’s inability so far to protect them, and how local NGOs are helping to improve their lives.
  • Topic: Gender Issues, Women, Rural, Public Health, Pandemic, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: Africa, Tunisia
  • Publication Date: 04-2020
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Australian Strategic Policy Institute
  • Abstract: A range of actors are manipulating the information environment to exploit the Covid-19 crisis for strategic gain. ASPI’s International Cyber Policy Centre is tracking many of these state and non-state actors online and will occasionally publish investigative data-driven reporting that will focus on the use of disinformation, propaganda, extremist narratives and conspiracy theories. The bulk of ASPI’s data analysis uses our in-house Influence Tracker tool—a machine learning and data analytics capability that draws out insights from multi-language social media datasets. This report includes three case studies that feature China, Taiwan, Russia and Africa
  • Topic: Internet, Social Media, COVID-19, Misinformation
  • Political Geography: Africa, Russia, China, Taiwan, Asia