Africa’s lockdown dilemma

High poverty and low trust

On 16 July 2020, two researchers of the Inclusive growth in Mozambique programme, Ivan Manhique and Ricardo Santos, UNU-WIDER, will discuss their research on the degree of preparedness of families in sub-Saharan African countries to withstand strict forms of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk that such measures will generate social instability. 

The presentations are based on the new UNU-WIDER Working Paper Africa’s lockdown dilemma — High poverty and low trust.

The presentations will be in Portuguese.

To join the seminar and take part in the discussion, register here. By registering, you agree to be added to UNU-WIDER’s customer relationship management system under the Institute’s terms and conditions (Privacy statement and Disclaimer).

Please note that the presentations will be recorded. The presentation slides and the recording will be shared with the seminar participants soon after the event.

About the research

The primary policy response to suppress the spread of COVID-19 in high-income countries has been to lock down large sections of the population. However, there is growing unease that blindly replicating these policies might inflict irreparable damage to poor households and foment social unrest in developing countries.

In their working paper, the authors investigate this concern using Afrobarometer data from 2019 for 30 sub-Saharan African countries. They create a multidimensional index of lockdown readiness, based on living conditions, and explore its relationship with forms of trust and the potential for social unrest.

The index reveals that just 6.8% of households overall, and 12% in urban areas, meet all conditions for a lockdown. The authors further show that weak readiness is not offset by high levels of social trust, which can be vital for effective public health interventions. As such, strict lockdown policies may not only be difficult to enforce but also heighten the risks of conflict.


About the IGM Seminar Series 

The online IGM Seminar Series provides a space to discuss research themes with a focus on the challenges of promoting inclusive growth in Mozambique at a time of overlapping crises: the economic and financial crisis of hidden debt, the climate crisis, and the global health crisis.

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