The COVID-19 pandemic and structural transformation in Africa: evidence for action

The COVID-19 pandemic and structural transformation in Africa: evidence for action

Download PDF 2.29 MB

Leininger, Julia / Christoph Strupat / Yonas Adeto / Abebe Shimeles / Wilson Wasike
Discussion Paper 11/2021

Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)

ISBN: 978-3-96021-148-8
Price: 6 €

This study analyses how strengths and weaknesses of economic, societal, political and environmental structures played out during the Covid-19 crisis in Africa since March 2020. Its main aim is to improve evidence on the direct and indirect effects of the pandemic on African countries and, based on that evidence, identify policy implications and formulate recommendations. It comprises the analysis of (a) direct impacts of the pandemic as well as of policy responses such as lockdowns and their potential determinants; (b) indirect effects of lockdowns and policy responses to the pandemic on economic, social, political and environmental domains in the light of structural strengths and weaknesses of African countries. In general, the study is based on the assumption that economic and other structures determine the magnitude and direction of the pandemic’s impact on the short and long run. Its added value is the thematic comprehensiveness and the comparative analysis of country clusters. Amongst many other findings, the analysis shows the important role of social cohesion for coping with the pandemic and for sustainable development on the longer run. This implies the need for (a) material and immaterial investments in good and trustful relationships within societies and between society and the state; (b) incentives for increasing cooperation of individuals for a common good need to be at the core of future development strategies. It identifies a trias of political priorities, which are all equally important and relate to each other. They contain (a) inclusive and green economic development that must be linked to (b) the establishment and improvement of universal social systems (health, education, social protection in case of poverty, old age and unemployment) as well as (c) a redesign of political institutions that are capable and inclusive to collect revenues and provide public goods. (d) None of these policy priorities will be effective on the long run without saving ecosystems.

About the authors

Berger, Axel

Political Science


Brandi, Clara

Economy and Political Science


Brüntrup, Michael

Agricultural Economy


Burchi, Francesco

Development Economy


Hackenesch, Christine

Political Science


Houdret, Annabelle

Political Scientist


Leininger, Julia

Political Scientist


Schiller, Armin von

Political Science


Ziaja, Sebastian

Political Scientist


Fiedler, Charlotte

Political Scientist


Mross, Karina

Political Science


Schraven, Benjamin

Political Scientist


Strupat, Christoph



Aleksandrova, Mariya

Climate risk governance


Lehmann, Ina

Political Science


Further experts

Balasubramanian, Pooja

Social Economics 

Dick, Eva

Sociologist and Spatial Planner 

Faus Onbargi, Alexia

Political Science 

Mudimu, George Tonderai

Agricultural policy economics 

Roll, Michael


Saibu, Ghadafi

Political Science 

Sakketa, Tekalign Gutu

Agricultural / Development Economics 

Walle, Yabibal

Development Economics 

Zintl, Tina

Political Scientist