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COVID-19 in Africa: Now Generation Network perspectives

Over the last few months, the spread of COVID-19 has accelerated across Africa. Some of the continent’s leaders have been praised for their quick responses in implementing measures to help mitigate the health and economic impact of this pandemic. 

As the continent boasts the world’s youngest population, the Foundation recently set out to gather the views of young people across Africa – who are part of our Now Generation Network (NGN) – on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis and prospects post-pandemic. 

The NGN is comprised of Ibrahim fellows and scholars and participants of the annual Now Generation Forum (NGF). This dynamic group are 237 young and emerging leaders, and mid-level career African citizens from 43 African countries in various sectors and disciplines. They shared their perspectives via an online survey. Following the conclusion of the survey, representatives from the NGN joined an online discussion with our Founder and Chair, Mo Ibrahim, and MIF Board members Graça Machel, Jay Naidoo and Jendayi Frazer. 

This webinar was split into three sessions, each one moderated by a MIF Board member with each of the NGN representatives sharing their perspectives. Topics of discussion about the challenges of COVID-19 in Africa included – economic instability, food insecurity and gender-based violence. As well as, governments’ responses and the continent’s future prospects. Here are some key takeaways from these discussions:

It’s no secret that the socioeconomic outcomes of the COVID-19 pandemic on young people have also been gendered.

Mandipa Ndlovu, Research Analyst (University of Cape Town), 2017 Ibrahim Scholar, SOAS  

While government was focussing on how it could cushion those who were working, it forgot those who are often invisible, living in informal settlements.

Natasha Kimani, Head of Programmes (Shujaaz Inc), 2017 Ibrahim Academy Fellow, Chatham House 

When we look at the stats from the survey that Africans seem to be more or less positive or cautiously optimistic about the future, I think it points to this deep hunger for change in some way.

Nasi Rwigema, 2018 Ibrahim Scholar, London Business School 

Watch the full webinar below and look out for the survey results which will be published in the form of a report.