A new book Covid-19 and Governance has been published, focusing on the relationship between governance institutions and approaches to Covid-19 and health outcomes. Bringing together analyses of Covid-19 developments in countries and regions across the world with a wide-angle lens on governance, this volume asks: what works, what hasn’t and isn’t, and why?

Organized by region, the book is structured to follow the spread of Covid-19 in the course of 2020, through Asia, the Middle East, Europe, the Americas, and Africa. The analyses explore a number of key themes, including public health systems, government capability, and trust in government—as well as underlying variables of social cohesion and inequality. This volume combines governance, policies, and politics to bring wide international scope and analytical depth to the study of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Researchers from Stellenbosch University’s Centre for Complex Systems in Transition, Nina Callaghan, Mark Swilling and Merin Jacob, contributed the chapter Africa and Covid-19: Ways forward.

“The world was poised for a COVID-19 spectre of death and sickness on the African continent. However, the dire predictions of mass infections and deaths in Africa did not materialize and confirmed cases in Africa only account for 5% of the global total,” explains Jacob.

“African governments have deployed a wide range of methods to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, from harsh hammer-like responses at the start of the pandemic (such as Rwanda and South Africa) to a range of dance-like responses (led by Senegal and Mauritius). While the continent has not been ravaged by COVID-19 to the degree expected, what matters moving forward are the social protection measures needed to mitigate the devastating consequences of economic collapse for the most vulnerable in fragile highly unequal economies.”

“The wide variety of institutional systems across the continent, from the centrally coordinated systems like South Africa and Senegal, to the state-led market economies (some developmental, some extractive), to the fragile states, will influence the way African states respond to these deeper long-term challenges. State-led developmental states and developmentally-oriented centrally coordinated market economies will stand a better chance in the upcoming post-COVID-19 environment.”

“With the profound effect that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on African economies, the pandemic has brought into relief deeper underlying contradictions that have hitherto been buried below various ideological narratives deployed by African political elites to mask the harsh realities of uneven African development.”

Together, the authors represent a diverse and formidable database of experience and understanding. They include sociologists, anthropologists, scholars of development studies and public administration, as well as MD specialists in public health and epidemiology. Engaged and free of jargon, this book speaks to a wide global public—including scholars, students, and policymakers—on a topic that has profound and broad appeal.

Learn more about the book here.