COVID-19’s spread to all corners of the world has left no society untouched. Its longer-term impact is likely to be felt in communities, politics and economics. COVID-19 illustrates the need for greater international cooperation, just as many countries are turning inwards and preferring go-it-alone approaches. These global developments will have a significant impact on Africa’s development trajectory. This policy briefing identifies five areas in this regard: multilateralism’s erosion and the rules-based system of international cooperation; global trade, where the tendency towards greater protectionism may intensify; the possible reduction in aid flows as economic recession bites in North America and Europe; the climate emergency and cooperation in moving to more climate-friendly energy; and barriers to human mobility and deepening instability in certain regions.