Eva-Maria Egger and Ricardo Santos on COVID-19 and Africa's lockdown dilemma

WIDER Webinar Series

Eva-Maria Egger and Ricardo Santos on COVID-19 and Africa's lockdown dilemma

Eva-Maria Egger and Ricardo Santos joined the WIDER Webinar Series to discuss new research on the dilemma of lockdowns in Africa during COVID-19 pandemic with Tilman Brück as discussant.

Africa’s lockdown dilemma: high poverty and low trust

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.

We investigate this concern using Afrobarometer data from 2019 for 30 sub-Saharan African countries. We 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 per cent of households overall, and 12 per cent in urban areas, meet all conditions for a lockdown. We 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.

Professor Tilman Brück will join the webinar as discussant. He will comment on the importance of accounting for divergent experiences of the pandemic, also for understanding the long-term consequences of the pandemic and the measures adopted in its wake.

Non-Resident Senior Research Fellow, Finn Tarp, will chair the event.

About the speakers

Eva-Maria Egger is an applied economist holding a PhD from the University of Sussex, UK. She is a WIDER Research Fellow based in Mozambique where she also works as technical advisor for poverty assessment to the Ministry of Economics and Finance. Her research focuses on rural development, migration, climate change and labor markets.

She has research and field work experience in Brazil, Ghana, Peru, South Africa and now Mozambique.

Ricardo Santos is a UNU-WIDER Research Fellow, stationed in Maputo, Mozambique, as Technical Advisor to the Centre of Economics and Management Studies at the Faculty of Economics of Eduardo Mondlane University.

He holds a PhD in Economics from the Institute of Development Studies (IDS), University of Sussex, a Master's degree in Economics from the Nova University, Lisbon, and an MA in Development Studies from IDS. His doctoral research examined the post-conflict labour market and education sector in Timor-Leste.

Tilman Brück is the founder and director of International Security and Development Center (ISDC). He is also Professor at the Natural Resources Institute of the University of Greenwich, visiting Professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Team Leader – Development Economics and Food Security at IGZ near Berlin. Tilman is also the Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Households in Conflict Network (HiCN) and the Principal Investigator of the Life in Kyrgyzstan Study (LiK Study).

His research interests focus on the economics of household behavior and well-being in areas affected by violent conflict, fragility and humanitarian emergencies, including the measurement of violence and conflict in household surveys and the impact evaluation of programs in conflict-affected areas.

WIDER Webinar series

The WIDER Webinar Series provides a platform to discuss COVID-19 and its effect on development and impact on the Global South. The webinars feature speakers renowned for their work on development issues, presenting new research on the implications they foresee of COVID-19.