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Averting a COVID-19 Security Crisis in Africa

Although COVID-19 does not affect all equally, it does confirm the axiom that, in today’s interconnected world, global challenges require global solutions. The only way to build a safer post-COVID world is to ensure that Africa is not left behind.

KIGALI, RWANDA – Some have described the COVID-19 crisis as a “great equalizer.” After all, it has invaded the world’s richest economies, with the virus infecting some of their most prominent figures, from politicians like UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to Hollywood royalty like Tom Hanks. But developing countries, especially the poor within them, remain far more vulnerable than their developed-country counterparts, not only to the pandemic’s health consequences, but also to insecurity – and instability – stemming from the response.

So far, the most effective measures for limiting the spread of COVID-19 are travel restrictions, physical distancing rules, and full quarantine, where applicable. But rapid implementation is essential.

We have seen that in some African countries, such as Rwanda, where the government grounded all passenger flights for 30 days after confirming just 11 cases of the virus, and then placed the entire country on lockdown for 28 days. Neighboring Uganda soon followed suit, along with Nigeria, South Africa, and Ethiopia, among others.