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Comfort Ero

Co-Sponsors: Celeste Ford & Jane Ross

Africa’s Peace and Security: The Pressures of COVID-19

About the Topic

As WHO declared COVID-19 a global emergency, the International Crisis Group began examining the pandemic's long- and short-term consequences for deadly conflict. In Africa, the dramatic caseload of deaths that some had predicted has not emerged. Yet the spread of a new variant raises alarm. How will the pandemic further unsettle the continent? It is sorely testing Africa’s economies (Nigeria and South Africa) and further challenging fragile transitions (Sudan and Ethiopia). The African Union has played a central role in managing efforts to limit the health and economic impacts of COVID-19. But that work has derailed the A.U.’s campaign known as “Silencing the Guns,” a drive toward a conflict-free Africa. What is the state of play between Africa’s security challenges and the pandemic? Do Africa’s international partners, including the U.S. and China, have the bandwidth to help?

About the Speaker

Comfort Ero is the Interim Vice President and Africa Program Director of the International Crisis Group. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, she first joined the I.C.G. in 2001 as West Africa Project Director, before serving three years in Liberia as the Political Affairs Officer and Policy Advisor to the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General (2004-2007). Prior to rejoining the I.C.G. in 2011, Ero worked in Cape Town, South Africa as Deputy Director, Africa Program at the International Center for Transitional Justice (2008 - 2010). She occasionally co-hosts the Crisis Group’s podcast Hold Your Fire! and tweets @EroComfort.