Aminatou Seydou

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FILE — In this Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 file photo, a member of the Army Forces receives the Sinopharm vaccine during the start of the country's covid-19 vaccination campaign at the Health Ministry in Dakar, Senegal. (AP Photo/Leo Correa, File)

As covid-19 blighted East and West last year, many African governments moved fast, ordering lockdowns — sometimes enforced with truncheons — and announcing plans to provide assistance to vulnerable families and businesses.

Some analysts credit this rapid action with helping the continent avoid the massive death tolls experienced elsewhere. But in some African countries, people took to the streets to protest seemingly unbearable restrictions.

How do ordinary Africans see their government’s response to the pandemic? Afrobarometer surveys in five West African countries (Benin, Liberia, Niger, Senegal and Togo) show widespread approval of decisive government actions, including lockdowns.

At the same time, majorities said that officials distributed assistance unfairly, stole resources intended for the pandemic response, can’t be trusted to provide accurate covid-19 statistics or ensure that vaccines are safe, and are using the pandemic to increase their own power.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nurse Joseph Kenga prepares to administer an AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine on March 9. (Gideon Maundu/AP)

While Africa has trailed other continents in obtaining vaccines against the coronavirus, rollouts are picking up speed. Shipments are helping launch vaccinations in a growing number of countries, including Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa, Angola and Zimbabwe.

The COVAX initiative for equitable global access to coronavirus vaccines, along with the African Union, are working to secure and deliver hundreds of millions of doses to the continent in the coming months.

Even if Africa has so far been spared the massive covid-19 death tolls experienced in some other regions, health officials say vaccinations are necessary to protect Africans — and by extension the rest of the world — from the health and economic ravages of the coronavirus, including surges in faster-spreading variants.…  Seguir leyendo »

People affected by the pandemic-related downturn line up in May to receive food donations near Laudium, South Africa. (Themba Hadebe/AP)

In this year of covid-19, the ability of societies to work collectively to respond to the pandemic has taken center stage. In fact, popular compliance with public health measures may be one reason for Africa’s relatively low coronavirus infection and death rates.

Analysts study social bonds precisely because they believe that cohesive societies — marked by strong positive relationships across social groups, and between social groups and the government — will be more capable of solving shared problems and promoting well-being and development.

How strong or weak are social bonds in Africa? Scholars have long studied ethnic division on the continent and its implications for political and military conflict.…  Seguir leyendo »