Africa Day: An African Perspective on Covid-19

The initial slow spread of Covid-19 through Africa helped some countries to start preparing for the inevitable, but – a little more than a year into the pandemic – many Africans report a rather devastating effect on their lives and livelihoods. In many areas people experience a loss of income, and food security is under pressure. In addition, people who need medication for chronic or other illnesses can quite often not acquire the necessary medication or find it impossible to get to hospitals or clinics.

 

The initial slow spread of Covid-19 through Africa helped some countries to start preparing for the inevitable, but – a little more than a year into the pandemic – many Africans report a rather devastating effect on their lives and livelihoods.

In many areas people experience a loss of income, and food security is under pressure. In addition, people who need medication for chronic or other illnesses can quite often not acquire the necessary medication or find it impossible to get to hospitals or clinics.

According to recent calculations of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Africa will need a total of US $285 billion over the next four years to be able to overcome the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, Ipsos conducted public opinion polls on behalf of the Partnership for Evidence-Based Response to COVID-19 (PERC), a consortium of global public health organisations and private sector firms.1 PERC was created in March 2020 with the objective of providing African Union member states with real-time information and guidance to reduce the impact of Covid-19 on the continent.

Ipsos offices throughout Africa collected data for the different waves of the study by conducting 24,000 telephone surveys in 19 African Union member states for each wave. These interviews were supplemented with weekly social media scraping data.

The third survey in the series was conducted in February 20212 and questions probed the public’s knowledge, risk perceptions, attitudes, access to information, reactions, behaviours and practices related to Covid-19. Findings show that the Covid-19 pandemic continues to impact societies, not only in terms of health, but also regarding the local social and economic conditions and day-to-day life.3