“COVID-19 and the Resilience of Africa’s Peace and Security Networks”, Cedric de Coning (NUPI, Norway)

Many commentators predicted that the impact of COVID-19 on Africa, with its high levels of under-development and weak public health systems, will be particularly catastrophic. The effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and economic sectors have exposed and compounded preexisting social, political, and environmental vulnerabilities, especially in conflict-affected countries and regions, and have severely stress-tested their social cohesion and resilience. Global and local peacemaking, peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts in Africa have also been significantly disrupted. More than 1 year into the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa, however, the emerging pattern is one of resilience rather than insecurity and chaos. This article assesses the disruption caused by COVID-19 to Africa’s peace and security networks and considers how a complexity informed Adaptive Peacebuilding approach can assist in strengthening community resilience and stimulating self-organized adaptive capacity. The spread of the virus is still increasing steadily, and the situation is likely to get worse before it gets better. The question is what can African civil society, governments and multilateral organizations do to further strengthen and support the pattern of resilience that has emerged over the first 1 year of the COVID-19 crises in Africa?

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