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COVID-19 in Africa: Contextualizing Impacts, Responses, and Prospects

Hamann, Ralph; Muthuri, Judy N; Nwagwu, Ijeoma; Pariag-Maraye, Neeveditah; Chamberlin, Wendy; Ghai, Shivani; Amaeshi, Kenneth; Ogbechie, Chris

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Ralph Hamann

Professor of Sustainable Business and Development

Ijeoma Nwagwu

Neeveditah Pariag-Maraye

Wendy Chamberlin

Shivani Ghai

Kenneth Amaeshi

Chris Ogbechie


It has become a truism that COVID-19 has impacted all countries and all people around the world, but in different ways. Yet this contextual diversity in the pandemic’s impacts, the responses by governments and other actors, and the prospects for recovery are only beginning to be understood. This is especially so for Africa, where, on the whole, the pandemic had a late start compared to other regions, but where the complex interactions among the disease, local health systems, and preexisting vulnerabilities linked to poverty, inequality, and fragile governance make such understanding particularly important.

“Africa could become the next epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic,” though thankfully the rate of infections has slowed in most parts of the continent in August and September. Yet the risk of a second wave of infections remains high, and in any case, the effects of the global recession and of governments’ lockdown regulations are layered upon a context of widespread poverty and constrained states, resulting in severe humanitarian, economic, and social impacts, with long-term implications for sustainable development on the continent. Setbacks to Africa’s sustainable development agenda have global implications, and this is true for the pandemic also. As argued by the United Nations Secretary General, “Only victory in Africa can end the pandemic everywhere.


Hamann, R., Muthuri, J. N., Nwagwu, I., Pariag-Maraye, N., Chamberlin, W., Ghai, S., …Ogbechie, C. (2020). COVID-19 in Africa: Contextualizing Impacts, Responses, and Prospects. Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development, 62(6), 8-18.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 3, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 16, 2020
Publication Date Nov 1, 2020
Deposit Date Dec 14, 2020
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2021
Journal Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development
Print ISSN 0013-9157
Electronic ISSN 1939-9154
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 62
Issue 6
Pages 8-18
Keywords Water Science and Technology; Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment; Environmental Engineering; Global and Planetary Change
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information Peer Review Statement: The publishing and review policy for this title is described in its Aims & Scope.; Aim & Scope:; Published: 2020-11-16


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