GUILLEM SARTORIO/AFP via Getty Images

Issue No: 4/2021

COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor – 3 March 2021

During the COVID-19 crisis ACCORD's analysis will be focused on the impact of the pandemic on conflict and resilience in Africa.

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ACCORD COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
References: AfricaCDC, ACLED and African Arguments

This week’s special edition on SADC unpacks the impact of COVID-19 on the region. The Monitor features Dr. Stergomena Tax, the Executive Secretary of SADC, who discusses the effects of COVID-19 on economic, social and state-citizens’ relations in the SADC region. 

ACCORD’s Marisha Ramdeen discusses the implications of the second wave of COVID-19 on Southern Africa’s rate of poverty and unemployment while Dr Richard Kamidza looks at how intra-SADC trade has been affected under COVID-19 restrictions. Finally, Sanusha Naidu reflects on the impact of both the first and second waves of COVID-19 on the socio-economic landscape of South Africa.

Special Guest Editor
Managing Editor: COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
Managing Editor: COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
Chief Editor: COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor​
Photo: KB Mpofu/ILO
Photo: KB Mpofu/ILO
Features, Livelihood Insecurity & Economic Impact

Impact of COVID-19 on Economic, Social and State-citizens’ relations in the SADC Region

  • Stergomena Lawrence Tax

In the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Region, the pandemic has widened inequalities within, and between Member States. Labour-intensive service sectors such as retail trade, restaurants and hospitality, sports and recreation and transportation have been severely affected by measures to contain the pandemic. Activity within labour-intensive sectors are expected to remain subdued in the short to medium term. The low-skilled, low-wage workers in both formal and informal sectors are least able to withstand an economic shock. A full recovery in the labour market may take a while, worsening income inequalities and increasing poverty.

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ACCORD COVID-19 Conflict & Resilience Monitor
References: Worldometer, Our World in Data and Govt of South Africa
Marisha-Ramdeen
Livelihood Insecurity & Economic Impact

COVID-19’s second wave deepens Southern Africa’s rate of poverty and unemployment

  • Marisha Ramdeen

The COVID-19 pandemic exposed fragilities and fault lines in many African countries, particularly their health systems and economic vulnerabilities. In spite of varying degrees of development on the African continent, the impact of the virus has taken its toll on the social, economic and political fibres in most African societies. While the pandemic did not exacerbate security challenges as earlier anticipated initially; and the continent was able to manage its rate of infection at the onset of the pandemic; the second wave of the virus resulted in a reversion of some restrictions as previously enforced in the first wave of the virus, causing a threat to livelihoods, as well as a trust deficit between the state and citizens, particularly in South Africa and Zimbabwe. 

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John Hogg/World Bank
John Hogg/World Bank
Livelihood Insecurity & Economic Impact

COVID-19 stresses Intra-SADC Trade

  • Richard Kamidza

Intra-Southern African Development Community (SADC) exports and imports as a proportion of overall trade of the region rose from 15.2% and 17.5% to 19.5% and 19.15% respectively between 2008 and 2018. In their virtual meeting held in March 2020, the SADC Council of Ministers (SCM) observed that less than 20% of intra-SADC trade prevents member States from realising their economic potential. Thus, the above marginal intra-regional trade, firstly, reflects low industrialisation, evidenced by a slight increase in the manufacturing sector’s contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) from an average of 10.3% in 2013 to 11.9% in 2018. Secondly, this reflects lack of diversifying member States’ economic structures from agriculture and mining sectors, which in 2018, accounted for an average of over 25% of GDP. While in particular, South Africa, the largest and most diversified economy, has high capabilities of dominating intra-SADC trade.

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John Hogg/World Bank
John Hogg/World Bank

Like all countries caught in the first wave of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Ramaphosa government has had to take some tough decisions: ease into a hard lock-down regulation or take a softer but cautious approach. South Africa was quick out of the starting blocks opting for a hard lockdown that imposed strict curfew restrictions that only allowed certain essential sectors to operate, forced small and medium businesses to endure greater strain on their operations, limited social gatherings and urged social distancing and mask wearing as part of the personal protective measures. The harshest impact was on the alcohol and tobacco industries that saw the sale of these products being banned.

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ACCORD recognizes its longstanding partnerships with the European Union, and the Governments of Canada, Finland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, UK, and USA.

ACCORD recognizes its longstanding partnerships with the European Union, and the Governments of Canada, Finland, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Sweden, UK, and USA.

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