Tackling the Coronavirus (COVID-19): West African perspectives

The Sahel and West Africa Club Secretariat is monitoring the coronavirus (Covid-19) situation closely. The pandemic is unfolding as the region faces a food crisis of exceptional magnitude and high levels of insecurity. This webpage features updated data, analyses and articles on the situation. 

Fact Sketching & the COVID-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic adds an additional layer to pre-existing crises. A new collaboration with Cartooning for Peace offers an alternative look at the challenges facing the region. More

Maps & Facts: Face mask use

West Africa makes face mask use compulsory. More

Maps & Facts: Social safety net spending is low

In the context of Covid-19, social safety nets are a key tool for improving food and nutrition security, eradicating poverty and building resilience. But spending remains too low. More

Global virus, local realities

A new policy brief explores some of the potential impacts of Covid-19 in West Africa and outlines a number of policy implications to help support government actions (Image: GPE/Tabassy Baro). More

Policy responses by country

What are countries in the Sahel and West Africa doing to contain the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19)? Find out what actions are being taken to help people, small businesses & the economy in your country. More

COVID-19 & food security

The coronavirus (Covid-19) risks overshadowing and compounding the already severe food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel and West Africa that threateneds millions of people (Image: K.Sulaimon/AFP). More

COVID-19 & the pastoral situation

Pastoral communities were already facing many challenges long before the Covid-19 outbreak. Find out more on the current situation and what is being done to support the agro-pastoral sector. (Image: J. Wanjiru) More

Maps & Facts: Handwashing & COVID-19

More than one-third of West Africans have no handwashing facility at home. More

OECD COVID-19 policy hub

The OECD launched a policy hub in response to the crisis to provide information on policy responses in countries around the world, together with OECD advice. More

COVID-19 and West Africa in numbers

In late February 2020, the first case of Covid-19 in West Africa was recorded in Nigeria. Within one month, the virus had spread to all 17 countries. The number of confirmed cases depends on how much a country actually tests. For many countries in the region, data on testing is either incomplete or unavailable. Similarly, death tolls must be interpreted with caution. They may exclude people who did not die in a hospital, or who died before they could be tested. They are also likely to exclude people who died from other causes because hospitals were overwhelmed by a surge in Covid-19 patients.

Testing policies by country

Confirmed cases, recoveries & deaths

Evolution of confirmed cases

Testing is a window into the pandemic

COVID-19 and gender

Women's livelihoods under threat

Millions of girls are missing out on an education

Fighting COVID-19: West African initiatives

Many innovative and local initiatives to fight Covid-19 are springing up. Examples include universities producing hand sanitisers, civil society actors distributing kits for handwashing and leading communication campaigns on preventive measures in local dialects, tailors making masks, as well as the private sector repurposing manufacturing processes to produce personal protective equipment (PPE) or ventilators.

Key documents

For more documents on Covid-19 its impact on food and nutrition security, visit the dedicated page from the Food Crisis Prevention Network (RPCA)



When a global virus confronts local realities: Coronavirus (COVID-19) in West Africa (11 May)

More than one-third of West Africans have no handwashing facility at home (3 April)

COVID-19 and Africa: Socio-economic implications and policy responses (7 May)

Developing countries and development co-operation: What is at stake? (28 April)



Final communiqué from the ECOWAS Extraordinary Session of Heads of State and Government (24 April)

ECOWAS communiqué no.2 of 6 April 2020 on the fight against the coronavirus disease (6 April)

WAHO Providing Financial and Material Support to ECOWAS Member States to fight Covid-19 (1 April)

Relevé de synthèse des conclusions et recommandations : Consultation régionale des Ministres en charge de l’agriculture et de l’alimentation de la CEDEAO, de la Mauritanie et du Tchad, sur les impacts du COVID-19 et des nuisibles des cultures sur la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle en Afrique de l’Ouest (31 March)

ECOWAS Statement on Support to Member States against Corona Virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) (21 March)



Final communiqué from the UEMOA Extraordinary Session of Heads of State and Government (27 April)

Lutte contre la pandémie du coronavirus (COVID 19) : la Commission de l’UEMOA prend d’importantes dispositions



Note d’information et de veille – Impact de la crise de COVID-19 sur la sécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle, CILSS (April)


African Union

Impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) on the African Economy

COVID-19 & Other Epidemics: Short & Medium Term Response (AUDA-NEPAD white paper) (2 April)

Communiqué of the Bureau of the Assembly of the African Union Heads of State and Government Teleconference on COVID-19 (26 March)

African Union Joint Continental Strategy for Covid-19 Outbreak (20 March)


G5 Sahel

G5 Sahel coronavirus pandemic statement (27 April)

Communiqué of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the G5 Sahel (15 April)


West African Central Bank

Communiqué de la Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique de l'Ouest (BCEAO)



G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting (15 April)



African Finance Ministers call for coordinated COVID-19 response to mitigate adverse impact on economies and society


World Health Organization

African Region COVID-19 Readiness Status

COVID-19 and West Africa in the media

Entretien: Covid-19 exacerbates the risk of conflict between breeders and farmers in the Sahel, Sputnik

Opinion: Coronavirus: Improving resilience in West African food systems, The Africa Report

Article:  Africa appears to be avoiding the coming health crisis, RTS

Opinion: COVID-19 in West Africa: Multiple crises demand a new approach to co-operation, Development Matters

Opinion: Il faut éviter la compétition des crises, Le Point Afrique

Podcast: Ce confinement doit être adapté à nos réalités économiques, RFI

Opinion: With or without, during and after Covid-19: the reform of the health and education systems in West Africa is a priority, Development Matters

RPCA: Covid-19 risks overshadowing and compounding the already severe food and nutrition crisis in the Sahel and West Africa

Interview: Coronavirus : « En Afrique, on ne réfléchira pas le développement de la même façon après la crise », Le Monde Afrique

Article: Coronavirus : des pénuries alimentaires menacent les pays dépendant des importations, La Tribune

Article: Le Covid-19 met l'Afrique au défi de sa sécurité alimentaire, Le Point Afrique

Article: Africa's Conflict-Ridden Regions Face Another Existential Threat in COVID-19, VOA

Interview: Coronavirus : « Un scénario catastrophe est de l’ordre du possible », Jeune Afrique

Article: Experts: African Economies Need Massive Support to Weather Coronavirus, VOA

Article: Zonder steun rijke landen wordt coronacrisis een ramp in Afrika, Trouw