Regions Apart: How South Africa and Nigeria Responded to COVID-19

Africa reacted rapidly and collectively to COVID-19. The AU, under the chairmanship of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2020, mobilised health ministers before the first case was reported on the continent, predicated by fears the virus would overwhelm fragile health systems and sluggish economies. This paper explores how African regional organisations have responded to the crisis and whether these responses have been adequate and effective. It then focuses on the case studies of South Africa and Nigeria, the two biggest African economies, examining whether the public view their governments’ responses as balanced, constitutional, inclusive and justified.