Beyond COVID: The Road to Recovery for Africa

Most African countries have thus far escaped the worst health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the economic fallout of the health crisis is pushing the region into its first recession in 25 years, and threatening to undo over a decade of development progress. Concerns of a second wave are fueling further uncertainty, but many African countries have seized the opportunity within the crisis to move faster on reforms and investments that will be crucial for a sustained recovery and long-term development.

Recent estimates show that COVID-19 could push up to 40 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa into extreme poverty. In the battle against Coronavirus, we all have common goals:

Saving lives

Emergency health projects are being rolled out in 34 countries across the continent to strengthen prevention, expand testing, provide medical equipment, build or expand healthcare facilities, build systems for real-time community-based tracing, and scale-up communications and coordination.

Using Experience from Ebola: A Game Changer in the COVID-19 Response

The big difference between the responses to Ebola and the COVID-19 lies essentially in the country’s level of preparedness. During the Ebola epidemic, the reaction was not immediate. In contrast, well before the first cases of COVID-19 surfaced in Guinea, the country had a response strategy, a budget for which funding had already been mobilized, and was equipped with knowledge gained from combating Ebola.

Here are lessons learned from Guinea on what it takes to invest in more resilient health systems and respond to pandemics.


COVID-19 Sparks Unique Partnership in Burundi

Burundi’s Blue Soap campaign produced and distributed less expensive, longer-lasting “blue soap” throughout the country. Developed in partnership with Savor SA, the country’s only industrial soap producing company, the campaign was made possible through the Ministry of Health, the World Bank-managed Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility, UNICEF, the private sector and other development actors.

Do you believe that increasing investments on hand hygiene can ensure better outcomes and help beat the pandemic?


Lifesaving Face Masks Made in the Central African Republic

In the Central African Republic, millions of masks were produced and 18,000 tailors were recruited through the LONDO cash for work program. They are now able to make a living by stitching beautiful African print masks that are distributed for free to every citizen across the country.

Be inspired by the entrepreneurs in this project that is currently the largest cash-for-work program in CAR. Read their stories towards a #ResilientRecovery.


Breathing a Sigh of Relief in Angola

One hundred ventilators are being installed in hospitals across Angola’s capital Luanda, COVID-19’s hardest hit city. Soon, they will be installed in hospitals to strengthen capacity country-wide, as COVID-19 continues to spread. The World Bank has been a key partner to the government’s COVID-19 response with financial support, technical assistance and fiduciary guidance.

What will it take for Africa to continue building capacity and sustain responsiveness to the pandemic? Share your ideas on the blog’s comments section.


First Hand Sanitizer Ever Made in Chad

In spring 2020, the unprecedented demand for many products strained supply chains worldwide. It became virtually impossible to find frontline protective products against the virus: gloves, face masks and hand sanitizer. This situation prompted Chad to launch its first ever production of these precious flasks.

Read how local structures played a crucial role to this solution.


Changing Behavior through a Drama Series ‘Corona Life’

One of Ghana’s biggest challenge in the fight against COVID-19 has been how to persuade citizens to accept the reality of the pandemic and to come to terms with the fact that we have to integrate behaviors into long-term habits, and adapt to a “new normal. To tackle this, Ghana just launched Corona Life, a drama series with popular actors to motivate people to follow safety and social distancing protocols and adapt to a life under a pandemic.

Follow the story of a married couple with differing attitudes towards COVID-19 and subscribe to see what happens next.

Protecting the Poor

To protect poor and vulnerable citizens and respond to the impact on their livelihoods, countries are scaling up social safety nets, supporting farmers to expand agricultural production and facilitating job creation.

Cash Transfers Support Madagascar’s Poorest and Most Vulnerable Citizens

To support citizens whose incomes had been abruptly disrupted by COVID-19 restrictions, the Malagasy government mobilized its technical and financial partners to implement a cash transfer program. With support from the World Bank, the program has helped more than 244,000 households across four cities, and other affected areas would benefit from this aid if necessary.

Follow the stories of 70-year-old Ralaimoty and young mother Tsilavina Elia Ratiana who are benefiting from the cash transfers.


Resilient Women on the Front Lines of the Fight Against COVID-19

In Niger, like in any part of the world, the lives of millions of people was abruptly interrupted when the first cases of the coronavirus were detected and social distancing measures put in place to prevent the spread of the disease. People who were already vulnerable were particularly affected. Women from an association of physically disabled women, decided not to give up and to start making masks.

Read how the emergency project is helping the country be better prepared for future outbreak and ensure that no-one is left behind.


Automated Water Kiosks Provide Steady Water Supply for Malawians

E-Madzi kiosks, fully-automated systems allowing Lilongwe residents to draw water any time using an e-card, reduce costs and increase hygiene and handwashing practices among citizens to stem the spread of COVID-19. The government is supporting the kiosk installment with financial support from the World Bank.

Visit an E-Madzi Kiosk and find out more about the initiative.


Easing Economic Hardship in Mozambique

With about 80% of the Mozambican labor force in the informal sector, COVID-19 restrictions took an economic toll on many poor and vulnerable families. To ease the economic strain, the World Bank and other development partners supported the government’s expansion of social safety net coverage with an ambitious and agile social safety net response plans, directly benefitting 1.5 million families. Learn how Mozambique is protecting the poor.


Scaling up its Social Safety Nets

To protect the poor and vulnerable from shocks and crises, but also the near-poor who risk falling into poverty, it is critical to have shock-responsive social protection systems in place. Burkina Faso is taking action to expand the social protection system to those who typically do not qualify for cash transfers such as vendors, small-scale farmers, traders, and others who depend on informal employment, paralyzed by lockdowns and border closures.

Here are the lessons learned from Burkina Faso on how to scale up social protection in times of crisis.


Creating Jobs for Kenyans in Informal Settlements During COVID-19

To support low-income workers during this time of limited movement, the Kenyan government created the National Hygiene Program. The program, known as Kazi Mtaani, provides employment opportunities with daily wages for labor-intensive works such as street and drainage cleaning, while ensuring clean environments, and improved urban infrastructure and service delivery.

Read how Kazi Mtaani is providing livelihoods to poor Kenyans living in informal settlements.

building Back Better

The focus is on building a resilient recovery by strengthening institutions and investments and promoting reforms that will create the conditions for economic recovery.

Focus on Water

Today’s historic health crisis will deal a long-term blow to the global economy, but it will hit the fragile African economies even harder. The faster these economies respond, the more resilient they will become. A sustainable response to COVID-19 and the pandemics that will follow must include a focus on water and sanitation. Here are some recommendations to improve access to water and sanitation.


Focus on Transparency

Advancing transparency and accountability in times of the pandemic is a critical issue that many countries are facing. In Nigeria, the government is now placing all procurement plans, tender opportunities, and contract awards related to the COVID-19 pandemic response in the public domain, an important step to ensure transparency and accountability in public expenditure. Learn more about this initiative.


Building resilient roads in Uganda

Roads are hugely important to local communities and countries alike. In Uganda, they carry 95% of freight traffic and 99% of passenger traffic, and contribute 3% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Sustainable roads also connect people to jobs, education and health, boost regional integration, link communities to income-generating markets, expand economic growth and decrease poverty.

Securing the future involves maintaining critical service delivery and building resilient infrastructure. Share your views on the blog’s comment section.

Focus on Food security

Even before the global COVID-19 pandemic broke out, food insecurity was a serious concern throughout sub-Saharan Africa. This year, an unprecedented locust outbreak that’s ravaging parts of the Horn of Africa could result in $8.5 billion in crop and livestock losses, severely reduced harvests, and less food in markets. Climate shocks, which have been increasing in number and severity in recent years, could also hurt agricultural production. These multiple crises, unfolding at the same time, threaten to swell the ranks of Africa’s hungry and vulnerable people.

What will it take for African countries to prioritize food and agriculture systems as an essential service? Share your ideas on the blog’s comments section.


Zimbabwe Trust Fund Investments Bear Fruit During COVID-19

While the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund has had several successes, none is more conspicuous as the completion of waterworks in three small towns during this COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic era. Improved water supply to households in Guruve, Lupane and Zimunya has increased women and girls’ productivity, as now less time is spent in the search for water. Learn more about this initiative.


In Southern Africa, Risk Financing is Critical to COVID-19 Recovery

The post-pandemic transition to fiscal consolidation is important to improving debt sustainability, but for the Southern Africa region, it is key for countries to strengthen their financial resilience to future shocks. The World Bank’s support to countries to be better financially prepared to respond to shocks is a new, yet rapidly expanding area of work in the Southern Africa region.

Learn more about how South Africa is building a #ResilientRecovery and share your ideas in the blog’s comment section.

How can you become part of the solution?

African youth ages 18-28 are invited to participate in the 2021 #Blog4Dev competition. Based on the impact of COVID-19 in your country, tell us:

How can Africa’s young people partner with their governments and civil society organizations to address the impact of COVID-19, and build stronger social and economic systems post-pandemic?

Find out more about the competition here.