YSI Africa Pre-Conference Mentorship Workshop at 15th Annual Meeting of the African Economic History Network (AEHN), Canary Islands, October 2022
Theme: North-South Relations and Pandemic Politics: Geopolitics or Scientific Responses to COVID-19?
Botswana first alerted the world of the existence of a new COVID-19 variant. Shortly thereafter, South Africa followed suite providing more details on the distinctive features of this variant. On the 26th of November 2021, the World Health Organization named this the Omicron Variant. By that time, however, the variant was already being discriminatorily labelled the Botswana or South Africa variant, the same way the Delta variant was incorrectly referred to as the South African variant. The response by the global North, led by the United Kingdom, was to come up with a ‘red list’ of countries, initially including seven Southern African countries, later expanding these to 11 countries by the first week of December 2021. Countries on the red list were slapped with travel bans. These countries included, South Africa, Namibia, Malawi, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, Zambia, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. In an article, : “Why is Nigeria on the UK’s travel red list?”, BBC Africa reported that the existence of a red list comprising only of African countries was described by many as “wicked and unfair.” The actions of the dominant countries in the global North, including Britain and the United States of America, ignited the furore of people across the board including academics based on the continent and outside it. They argued that the ‘red list’ was racist, exclusionary, and undermined Africa “as always.” It became one of those rare instances when there was unison among leaders in the African Union in calling for the removal of that red list.
Although countries were eventually removed from the red-list by Britain for example, on the 15th of December 2021, that brief moment gave the world a picture of the prevailing political dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is in light of the foregoing that the pre-Conference seeks to unpack the geopolitical dynamics of pandemics. It seeks to understand the changes and continuities in North-South relations. It also seeks to understand the impact of these relations on Africa’s economy and society. The pre-conference is also keen on exploring the politics of COVID-19 within the continent.
The organisers of the pre-conference are thus accepting papers on the following themes:
The politics and history of epidemics and pandemics in Africa.
The politics of vaccines and vaccine access in African countries.
“When Europe sneezes Africa catches a cold”? How far is this true in relation with COVID-19
COVID 19, Geo-politics and Africa’s place on the global landscape.
The politics of COVID-19 on the continent – country specific or regional perspectives are acceptable case studies.
Interested participants should send in paper abstracts of no more than 500 words to [email protected] by the 28 of April 2022.