The decline and violence among the effects of COVID-19 in Africa, seen in the report

DAKAR-Much of Africa may have survived the death toll brought on by COVID-19 in other regions, but it now faces declining, growing violence and heightened despair due to the pandemic, a report said Wednesday.

“The total economic downturn is pushing Africa into recession for the first time in 30 years, with a severe impact on unemployment, poverty, inequality and food insecurity,” according to 2021 Ibrahim Forum Report.

It was first released at the Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s annual conference over the weekend, which promotes good governance in Africa.

African countries are enforcing strict travel bans and vigorous monitoring of the onset of the outbreak, which could potentially save millions of lives, according to the report.

But Africa is the only continent where incidents of violence have increased in the wake of the pandemic disease. Mob violence rose 78%, while more than 90 people were killed by security forces enforcing lockdown bans, the report said.

Conflict resolution and counter-insurgency efforts were shifted to the rear, opening doors for extremist groups to take advantage of the outbreak by filling in the gaps left in the state.

“COVID-19 is already involved in the propaganda of groups like Al Shabab and Boko Haram, to help justify their cause,” said Camilla Rocca, Head of Research at the foundation.

“They want to paint themselves as service providers, with Al Shabab, for example, opening clinics and Islamic State branches in [Democratic Republic of Congo] providing medicines, ”he said.

A recovery strategy should emphasize the creation of sustainable jobs, according to the report.

A solution for Africa to create a vaccine manufacturing industry, which can create jobs in various sectors and meet the acute need for healthcare.

“Using the lessons from COVID-19, our continent can create a more sustainable, self-reliant and collaborative future,” Mo Ibrahim, the Sudanese-British billionaire at the helm of the foundation, said in the report.

“The youth of Africa, who are the future of our continent, must be at the center of the plan.”

(Reporting by Cooper Inveen, Editing by Edward McAllister and Giles Elgood)

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