Globally, urban areas are the epicentres of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for the vast majority of confirmed cases. The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa has published a report that looks at the impacts, responses and policy pathways related to COVID-19 in the context of cities in Africa.
The pandemic is hitting hardest those living in informal settlements and the homeless, exacerbating the seriousness of the pre-existing housing crises already affecting millions of people in Africa. The impact of COVID-19 on incomes and jobs, particularly for low-income and informal workers, will result in mortgage defaults and rental arrears and may lead to forced evictions. Lack of data on tenants and the management of rents and mortgages constrain housing subsidies planned by some African countries in response to COVID-19. The current health crisis however opens prospects for a new type of recovery that focuses on creating a different society, including a move towards access to adequate housing.
To adequately address the challenges of COVID-19 at the urban scale and through local governments, five key implications have been identified and actions are proposed for each of them as short, medium- and long-term interventions, led by national governments with the support of the African Union and regional communities:
- Apply local communication and community engagement strategies
- Support SMEs and the informal economy
- Deepen decentralised responses to COVID-19 through strengthened local government capacities
- Target informal settlements through tailored measures
- Establish mechanisms to promote rapid access to housing and prevent forced evictions
- Integrate urban planning and management as key priorities for recovery and rebuilding strategies towards long-term resilience
Download the report in the link below.COVID-19 in African Cities: Impacts, Responses and Policies