The AU-EU Summit didn’t prove immune to COVID-19 – but that may be a blessing in disguise

The AU-EU Summit didn’t prove immune to COVID-19 – but that may be a blessing in disguise

This year was supposed to be crucial for Africa-Europe relations, culminating in the sixth AU-EU Summit, scheduled for 28 and 29 October in Brussels. But then COVID-19 happened. After a long palaver, a decision was finally taken: the summit will be postponed to 2021, although a date still needs to be fixed. Geert Laporte explains why postponing may not be such a bad thing.

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Covid-19 and financial access: supporting low-income businesses and households in Africa

Financial access in Africa has been on the rise in the last decade. It has a critical role to play in increasing the resilience of households and supporting their livelihoods. Maintaining this role is vital to tackle welfare and income losses stemming from the Covid-19-sparked economic crisis.

Building Back Better Social Contracts - International Cooperation with Fragile MENA Countries in the COVID-19 Context

Building Back Better Social Contracts – International Cooperation with Fragile MENA Countries in the COVID-19 Context

Governments in the Middle East and in North Africa (MENA) are tackling the pandemic in different ways, many challenged by weak social systems and growing societal frustrations. In relatively prosperous (middle-income) countries – such as Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq – leaders have used the pandemic as an excuse to suppress justified protests at their lack of accountability and failure to provide basic services. For international cooperation, which supports the functioning of legitimate, accountable governments and resilient societies, this poses a critical challenge – as the case of Lebanon currently illuminates.

Africa trade and Covid‑19: the supply chain dimension

Africa trade and Covid‑19: the supply chain dimension

The global Covid-19 pandemic has had an enormous impact on trade across the world. Value chains and trade have slowed down, or even been brought to a halt, via several channels. This paper investigates the impacts of the pandemic on trade and value chains in Africa, with a special focus on Ethiopia and Kenya. It also makes specific policy recommendations regarding the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement in the light of Covid-19.

"Pray in Your Homes": Religion and the State in North Africa in Times of COVID-19

“Pray in Your Homes”: Religion and the State in North Africa in Times of COVID-19

COVID-19 has led governments across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to take a number of measures to battle the pandemic. Many of these actions directly related to religious practices such as the cancelation of the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, closing down mosques and amending the call to prayer from the usual “hayya alas-salah” or “come to prayer” to “salu fi buyutikum” or “pray in your homes”.

European fear of ‘missing out’ and narratives on China in Africa

European fear of ‘missing out’ and narratives on China in Africa

The ETTG note debunks some of the dominant myths surrounding Chinese engagement in Africa and unpacks the evolving relationship between China and the African continent. It starts by looking closer at common European perceptions about China-Africa relations. It then provides a brief sketch of the historical underpinnings of China’s engagement in Africa. Afterwards, it looks at how the notion of competition with rising global powers like China has influenced the EU’s relations with African partners.

Emergency Powers, COVID-19 and the New Challenge for Human Rights

Emergency Powers, COVID-19 and the New Challenge for Human Rights

In the context of a global crisis, access to reliable information is more important than ever. Limiting free speech and press freedoms can impede accurate understanding and hence mitigation of the crisis. Beyond COVID, freedom of the press and expression are foundations of any functioning democracy.

Profiteers of the pandemic? COVID-19 has not killed global populism

Profiteers of the pandemic? COVID-19 has not killed global populism

Populism has revealed one of its weaknesses, by displaying particularly ineffective crisis management. However, it is not clear that populism will be politically unsuccessful in the post-corona future. The ability of populists to mobilise supporters, to concentrate powers and to spread a narrative of the crisis aligned with their nationalist and authoritarian ideology should not be underestimated. They could show resilience by relying on a broader anti-globalist narrative, conspiracy theories and polarization.

Tax implications of Covid-19. A fundamental transformation of tax systems is needed in the wake of COVID-19

Tax implications of Covid-19. A fundamental transformation of tax systems is needed in the wake of COVID-19

While the 2008/2009 global economic crisis had many negative consequences, one positive effect was that it massively accelerated international cooperation on tax matters. This is the kind of impetus that we also need for tackling the Covid-19 pandemic. The focus is not on generating more revenues, but rather primarily on achieving greater equity in the way that revenues are generated. This requires more public discussion of fair taxation. After all, the way that resources are mobilised and deployed to tackle the crisis will also have an impact on state legitimacy and social cohesion.