COVID-19: An opportunity to jump-start collective action in Africa

Africa is the last continent to be hit by COVID-19. Toward the end of June, reported cases neared 300,000 and deaths 8,000 across the 54 countries. Coordination across countries has been low in spite of the cross-border nature of the pandemic and its effects. The Regional Economic Communities (RECs), whose principal function was coordinating trade policy, and other supra-national institutions provide the institutional framework for the needed cooperation and joint action. The latter has proved difficult in the past, but recent actions give hope that COVID-19 might be the spark to start implementing the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) in earnest.