The COVID-19 Pandemic in Sub-Saharan Africa

An Opportunity to Rethink Strategic Competition on the Continent

by Michael Shurkin, Alexander Noyes, Mary Kate Adgie

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This Perspective assesses the effects and implications of COVID-19 on strategic competition in sub-Saharan Africa. The authors provide a brief overview of COVID-19 on the continent and discuss Chinese and Russian efforts to benefit from the pandemic. They offer recommendations for how the United States can expand beyond a competition lens and help African countries respond to the pandemic in ways that are mutually beneficial to all parties—including, in some cases, China. Sub-Saharan Africa is of growing importance on the world stage. This trend will only accelerate in the coming years and decades, requiring broader and deeper—and more-strategic—U.S. engagement on the continent.

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This research was funded through the Department of the Air Force concept formulation funds and conducted within the Strategy and Doctrine Program of RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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