COVID-19 and Africa

The FLIA response to the coronavirus pandemic

Learn about our work investigating the effects of COVID-19 on Africa

How will COVID-19 affect development and humanitarian programmes?

As an unprecedented global crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic is having profound effects on Africa. Disruption to food chains, rising government debt and competition over scarce resources already emerge as challenges as the continent prepares for its first recession in decades. Moreover, lockdown measures and their strict enforcement pose risks to people’s livelihoods as social networks and employment opportunities are upended.

In response, the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa has launched new initiatives and large-scale research projects to enhance global debates on the pandemic’s effects on Africa. There is an urgent need for new evidence and research to develop our understanding of the emerging social, political and economic crisis, such that policy responses and development programmes are appropriate.

Using a global network of researchers and partners, including across the African continent and a consortium of European institutions, the FLIA will produce research, online events, blogs and videos to guide policymakers and scholarly audiences worldwide. Ongoing research projects will also adapt to reflect shifting debates and priorities. For the complete list of work conducted by the FLIA on COVID-19, please see the information below.

Publications, articles and blogs


Africa at LSE blog

Events and webinars

Research projects


PERISCOPE is a large-scale research project involving a consortium of 32 European institutions to investigate the social, economic, behavioural and mental health-related aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.    

LSE is a leading partner in delivering PERISCOPE objectives. Hosted by the Firoz Lalji Institute for Africa, the wider PERISCOPE team includes LSE faculty members across the Department of Economics, Department of Anthropology, Department of Health Policy, Department of Social Policy and the LSE Behavioural Lab. 

Objectives include:

  • Gathering data on the broad impacts of COVID-19 to develop a comprehensive, user-friendly, openly accessible COVID Atlas, which should become a reference tool for researchers and policymakers;
  • Performing innovative statistical analysis on the collected data, with the help of various methods including machine learning tools;
  • Identifying successful practices and approaches adopted at the local level, which could be scaled up at the pan-European level for a better containment of the pandemic and its related socio-economic impacts;
  • Developing guidance for policymakers to enhance Europe’s preparedness for future similar events and proposed reforms in the multi-level governance of health.

Learn about PERISCOPE.

Centre for Public Authority and International Development

In countries suffering from conflict and hunger, the COVID-19 pandemic is overwhelmingly afflicting those who are already amongst the most vulnerable. However, the challenges faced in the FLIA’s core research countries are not limited to COVID-19, and people continue to face many other challenges our work aims to address, which interact with the current health crisis.

The FLIA’s research in the Centre for Public Authority and International Development is retaining its focus on humanitarian and development challenges, and responding to the effects of COVID-19  as it impacts pre-existing concerns. We are also applying for COVID-19 specific funding to complement this work.

  • South Sudan: Our work in South Sudan includes ethnographic research into how people survive periods of hunger; divine authorities and their relationship to violent conflict; and evolving ideas of public authority among the majokwut (cattle camp leaders). These authorities and their opinions will be key to local understandings of COVID-19. A new project, Safety of Strangers, also explores the impact of local protection mechanisms in South Sudan and how violence now interacts with the dangers from a pandemic.
  • Uganda: FLIA researchers are documenting the political and security situation in Gulu, northern Uganda. Findings will be released.
  • Poverty and development: The latest edition of the book volume Poverty and Development by FLIA Director Professor Tim Allen (Oxford University Press, 2020) has been revised to include new information on the COVID-19 outbreak throughout.

This page will be updated regularly as the FLIA's output on COVID-19 progresses and expands. For more information about our work please contact Laurence Radford: 


Photo: Uganda Red Cross volunteer helping screen thousands of people who cross the border each day from the DRC. Credit: IFRC.