April 2020 - ROAPE
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April 2020

David Seddon looks in detail at the reported impact of Covid-19 in North Africa. The region has currently experienced some of the largest numbers of reported cases and the greatest number of deaths on the continent. Seddon also asks how we can understand the response of international and national financial institutions to the outbreak on the continent....

In a wide-ranging interview, Ray Bush and Habib Ayeb discuss their new book, Food Insecurity and Revolution in the Middle East and North Africa. They argue that the question of our relationship with nature is now finally revealed in its starkest and most dramatic way as a climate emergency. Intensive, capitalist and extractivist agriculture has also generated the processes that have created the current pandemic....

In a dispatch from their lockdown in Kigali, two UK-based researchers Andrea Filipi and Katrin Wittig reflect on the international media coverage of the Coronavirus pandemic and Africa. They argue that the coverage has recycled stereotypical portrayals of Africa, and that the West may be losing an opportunity to rethink itself and its relationship with the continent. ...

In a report from Kenya, Gacheke Gachihi asks if the state is fighting Covid-19 or the poor? He writes that since the curfew was enforced across the country the police continue to systematically brutalise and terrorise people living in informal settlements. Introducing a film on state violence and Covid-19 in Kenya, Gacheke argues the poor must demand the right to healthcare, water and livelihood enshrined in the country’s constitution....

During the West African Ebola crisis, outreach became critical to combating the spread of infection. In Sierra Leone, Laura Martin writes, comedians proved to be a popular and effective means of spreading these messages, as well as offering relief to quarantined homes. Comedians thrived during this period with regular employment opportunities by local government and NGOs.  Today, comedy outreach is becoming re-popularised as Sierra Leone fights against the Covid-19 pandemic. Yet, being a ‘legitimate’ respectable comedian in Sierra Leone is bound up in social and political capital entirely unrelated to comedic talents…...