An African Reading of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Stakes of Decolonization
The COVID-19 pandemic has so far revealed that the virus (SARS-CoV-2) does not only infect, weaken, and highlight weaknesses in human biological systems, but also the structural weaknesses of health systems at international and national levels. In this paper we examine the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa through a decolonization lens. Keeping in mind that there are differences in history, culture, and health systems among the various African countries, we draw on commonalities to explain how the COVID-19 pandemic which from the onset destabilized high-income countries (HICs) has occasioned a disruption of the habitual paradigm of dependence of African countries on foreign donors to assist them in times of health emergencies. We argue that this disruption could be seized as a catalyst in Africa’s process of health and healthcare decolonization. At stake in this process are the lives and livelihoods of millions of people whose health needs are governed by processes and structures immersed in what we describe as coloniality. Engaging with decolonization has not only become a necessity for survival, but also an occasion to radically transform global health systems at the service of life of all, including the global majority, rather than that of the “haves” over the “have nots”.
Atuire CA and Rutazibwa O (2021) An African Reading of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Stakes of Decolonization, Yale Law School