Somalia and the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Socio-economic Impact and the Policy Responses

Introduction

The arrival of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) could not have come at a more tactful time for Somalia, which was due to hold both parliamentary and presidential elections in 2020/21 after many years of state-building and peace-building efforts. Somalia’s response to the COVID-19 crisis has been irregular.
The Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) confirmed the first case of the novel Coronavirus in the country on 16 March 2020; five days after the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized the infection as a pandemic. Since then, confirmed cases have exponentially increased. As of April 18, 2020, there were 135 confirmed cases and seven deaths across the country. Somalia is one of the least prepared countries in Africa for the COVID-19 public health threat. Due to Somalia’s creaking health infrastructure, there is a lack of capacity from the government to respond quickly to prevent the spread of the disease across the country.
This policy brief explores reactions to the COVID-19 pandemic by the Somali government and outlines the socio-economic impact of the disease. The brief also provides some relevant policy recommendations to the Somali authorities, including the FGS and its member states.

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