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Who are the biggest winners and losers of the COVID-19 pandemic?

By Nicholas Norbrook, Patrick Smith
Posted on Thursday, 11 March 2021 18:46, updated on Friday, 12 March 2021 02:59

Malawi Army Commander Vincent Nundwe receives an AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine in Zomba, Malawi, 11 March 2021. (AP Photo/Thoko Chikondi)

If people can agree that the five-sided crisis of the Covid-19 pandemic – public health, environmental, social development, political and economic – is the biggest test facing the world for a century, far fewer concur on the way forward.

For some, it should be the opportunity for revolutionary change. Indian writer and activist Arundhati Roy put it most evocatively, writing in the Financial Times: ‘Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between this world and the next.’

This new world could embrace radical change in the international system and in national policies, with big consequences for Africa. Without a doubt, the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses of inter-state cooperation.