The Impact of COVID-19 on Economies, Social Cohesion and Governance in Africa

This collaborative project among the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation, the African School of Economics in Benin and the Groupe de Recherche et d'Analyse Appliquées pour le Développement (GRAAD) in Burkina Faso examines the impact of COVID-19 on economies, social cohesion and governance in Africa. It seeks to understand the way that COVID-19 and state responses to the pandemic have impacted on the economic, social and political dynamics in South Africa, Benin and Burkina Faso. Through empirical studies, the project seeks to address key policy questions. In relation to economic policy, the project addresses the following:

  1. How will COVID-19 disrupt urban markets, many of which are run predominately by women?
  2. How might market disruptions affect food security?
  3. What is the impact of the pandemic on the informal sector?
  4. To what extent can eCommerce help overcome the economic challenges posed by COVID-19?
  5. How will COVID-19 affect the distribution of income and the nature of income inequality?
  6. What government macroeconomic and fiscal policies can support economic resilience (including climate change resilience), while supporting particularly vulnerable demographic groups?
  7. How do changes in governance and social cohesion resulting from COVID-19 impact the feasibility of economic and fiscal policies?

In relation to social cohesion and governance, the project examines:

  1. How have COVID-19 and lockdown regulations disrupted social cohesion and governance processes, and have these manifested in new patterns of violence?
  2. What new resilience and active citizenship strategies have been developed by communities?
  3. What are the gender dimensions of these impacts, strategies and post-crisis reconstructions?
  4. How can the adverse social effects of COVID-19 and future crises be mitigated by community structures and the state?
  5. How do interventions to strengthen governance and social cohesion integrate considerations of their economic impact?

This project also explores the most effective forms of communication for changing public attitudes and behaviours and government actions in response to addressing these challenges.

The project questions dominant narratives regarding African experiences and African state responses that undermine success stories. It seeks to provide an empirically informed picture of how African states have responded to this crisis, along with its positive and negative consequences for health, economies, governance and society. It shares these insights and analysis through regular media engagements and scholarly publications and through strengthening the community of practice within Africa's scientific community.

The project is made possible through the generous support of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

CSVR Project Staff

Hugo van der Merwe

Senior Research Specialist

Boikanyo Moloto


Malose Langa

Senior Research Associate

Jasmina Brankovic

Senior Researcher and Advocacy LME Specialist

Steven Rebello

Senior Researcher

Stacy Norman-Hector

Senior Learning, Monitoring and Evaluation (LME) Officer

Nomancotsho Pakade

Research Manager
Translate »