Compassion, Uncertainty, Anxiety—and Hope: Africa in the Time of Coronavirus

The first half of 2020 is coming to a dramatic close, around the world but in Africa especially. This is hardly new; the continent is used by now to being buffeted by global shocks. But the present situation brings unprecedented challenge and unprecedented danger. In the face of such a challenge and such danger, it is natural for global public policy to respond first with calm if not cold reason. That is what it is designed to do, after all. But in the present circumstances, so high are the stakes—human, social, and political—that, inevitably and appropriately, they evoke strong emotions as well. I propose that we allow ourselves not to dismiss but to embrace these emotions, because they may help our reasonings find their way to better answers than reason can discover on its own. Among the emotions I speak of are compassion, uncertainty, and anxiety, but also hope. In this essay I will try to trace the path by which these emotions lead us, down through the present miseries and back upward toward recovery.

English version "Compassion, Uncertainty, Anxiety—and Hope: Africa in the Time of Coronavirus" :


Severino, J-M. (2020) "Affliction, questionnement, crainte et espoirs au temps du coronavirus africain", FERDI Policy brief B206, June 2020