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African Human Rights Law Journal

On-line version ISSN 1996-2096
Print version ISSN 1609-073X

Abstract

AGABA, Daphine Kabagambe. Tackling inequality and governance challenges: Insights from the COVID-19 pandemic. Afr. hum. rights law j. [online]. 2021, vol.21, n.2, pp.877-906. ISSN 1996-2096.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/1996-2096/2021/v21n2a35.

The article addresses inequality and governance in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, it highlights ways in which COVID-19 has further exacerbated the already worrying inequality levels. Specifically, it addresses issues such as vaccine nationalism, rising income inequality levels, while the minority become richer, some from the manufacturing and selling of COVID-related products. From a governance perspective, it is argued that the reliance on liberal democracies to deliver equality is proving to be insufficient as these have been noted to pursue and prioritise market-based strategies that ultimately perpetuate inequality. Ultimately, it is forwarded that there needs to be a rethinking of the global political economy policies, including debt, health systems, intellectual property laws and trade, in order to directly address how such systems perpetuate inequality. In the context of the African continent, the article highlights the difficulty in accessing vaccines, posing a major threat to the continent, which is experiencing waves of the pandemic that are more disturbing than those that went before. It also highlights the extent to which paucity of research affects vaccine efficiency on the continent. COVID-19 has further worsened the already precarious political and economic situation in most of Africa, characterised by countries being unable to pay debt, electoral political violence, COVID-19 denialism, exploiting COVID-19 to clamp down on opposition, and misuse of COVID-19 funds. Thus, it is recommended that there needs to be an overhaul of the already broken fiscal and political environments rather than the adoption of piecemeal economic solutions such as debt freezes, or politically-flawed ones, that ultimately do not work.

Keywords : COVID-19; inequality; governance; economic policies; vaccines.

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