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COVID-19 and Democracy in West Africa: A Downward Spiral?

The world is currently confronted with one of the biggest human crisis, the novel Coronavirus infection (Covid-19). The virus which first broke in China in November 2019 has swept across almost every country on earth.

The John Hopkins University COVID-19 dashboard indicates that more than 12.9 million people all over the world have been infected with the virus as of July 13. More than 570,000 lives have also been claimed by the virus. Close to 600,000 of the world’s infected population are in Africa.

In a bid to flatten the infection curve and contain the outbreak, governments across the globe undertook tight measures including shutting down borders, closing schools, imposing lockdowns and curfews on citizens, among others. Although the virus has been slow in taking root in Africa, the continent is beginning to record a spike in its infection rates, giving governments reasons to reconsider some decisions.

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Experts believe that Africa could be the hardest hit by the pandemic due to its struggling health care system. Considering the devastating impact of the virus, some governments across Africa, and West Africa, were quick to adopt draconian measures to curb the spread of the pandemic.

Rachad Bani Samari, a civil society worker, takes a look at the impact of COVID-19 on West Africa’s democracy with a special focus on freedom of expression and how draconian measures could impact free and fair elections and regular rule of law.

Read the full piece here.

By: Rachad Bani Samari

DISCLAIMER: This article first appeared on www.wacsi.org.

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