ASCL Seminar: The COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Africa's New Era of Austerity

With Africa's median age under 20, COVID-19 was never likely to be a major health concern on the continent. Nevertheless, the declaration of a pandemic in March 2020 saw the World Health Organization recommend the same lockdown measures in all countries regardless of population profile or socioeconomic frameworks. With 85% of African workers in the informal sector, transport shutdowns, market curfews, agricultural restrictions, and global travel bans have combined to end the economic booms of the 2010s and bring about what economists are calling Africa's "new era of austerity". This lecture by Prof. Toby Green (King's College London) interrogates the processes by which this enormous and highly gendered increase in economic inequality came about on the continent. How do academic concepts of agency, extraversion, and neoliberalism help us to understand this socioeconomic calamity, whose consequences will last for years?


This event will be held physically in Leiden. For registrees who cannot travel to Leiden a link to an online platform will be sent one day before the start of the event.

Photo: exempted bicycle moving during lockdown due to COVID-19 in Uganda. Credits: Derrick Ndahiro (via Wikimedia Commons).

Toby Green is Professor of Precolonial and Lusophone African History and Culture at King's College, London. His 2019 book, A Fistful of Shells was awarded the British Academy Prize for Global Cultural Understanding and the Jerry Bentley Prize in World History from the American Historical Association. His latest book, coauthored with Thomas Fazi, is The Covid Consensus: The Global Assault on Democracy and the Poor -- A Critique from the Left; it will be published in a Dutch edition by Starfish in May 2024.



Date, time and location

02 May 2024
16.00 - 17.30
Pieter de la Courtgebouw / Faculty of Social Sciences, Wassenaarseweg 52, 2333 AK Leiden
Room 0.B13