On Pandemic and Vaccine, Africa Has More Leverage Than It Realizes

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If anyone was hoping for a post-pandemic renewal of international cooperation in a world still feeling the aftershocks from Brexit, Donald Trump’s presidency, trade wars and global supply chain disruptions, they would likely be disappointed today. International relations in 2020 were driven primarily by the politics of aid and mask diplomacy. The second year of the coronavirus pandemic has been all about vaccines, geopolitical competition and travel restrictions. 

In a July edition of my Africa Watch newsletter, I noted that the rhetoric of renewed multilateralism heard at global summits and other international fora at the onset of the pandemic ultimately gave way to provincialism on the part of wealthier, more industrialized countries—primarily, but not exclusively, in the West. That development, particularly in its manifestation as vaccine nationalism, has…

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