In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa’s rapid and coordinated response, informed by emerging data, was remarkable. Now, in 2022, as vast vaccination campaigns have enabled the global north to gain some control over the pandemic, Africa lags behind.

Since the 1960s, when many African countries gained independence, the continent has largely depended on the outside world for its health-security commodities: diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, as well as personal protective equipment and other medical supplies. The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed how easily international cooperation and multilateral agreements can dissolve, especially in the face of a global crisis — and just how vulnerable this dependence leaves Africa. In 2017 and 2018, more than 120 disease outbreaks were reported on the continent1…..more