“Silencing the Guns”, the continental programme to end civil wars in Africa by the end of this year, has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The pandemic is exposing weaknesses in governance, as youth unemployment and restlessness rises in already fragile countries. This could trigger widespread unrest and test crisis management systems on the continent.
These issues came up at a virtual discussion by African security and policy experts on the impact of Covid-19 and its implications on the Silencing the Guns 2020 programme, and whether the pandemic could reverse the gains achieved so far.
Experts said that acute food scarcity, increased gender-based and sexual violence, diminishing economic opportunities, which has led to lost livelihoods as a result of the pandemic, were more severe in countries with ongoing conflict.
“Covid-19 will do more harm in regions experiencing conflicts. We must deal with security in the wake of the pandemic,” said Andrews Atta Asamoah, a senior research fellow with the Institute of Security Studies.
The webinar was convened by the Silencing the Guns unit of the Peace and Security Department of the African Union Peace and Security Council, and brought together experts to discuss the impact of the pandemic on governance, security, children, women, youth and on food security.
The Silencing the Guns 2020 programme aims to achieve a conflict-free Africa, prevent genocide, make peace a reality for all and rid the continent of wars and humanitarian disasters.
The regions expected to be most affected are the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin, Central African region, eastern Congo, the Horn of Africa, Sudan, South Sudan and Libya.