This post is meant to help anyone attempting to follow COVID-19, the response, and the wider impact in the Sahel. Most of the below resources are in French. I’ve left Senegal out for now, but I might follow up with a separate post. I welcome suggestions for further resources to include, and will update accordingly.
Tracking Case Counts
Sahelian Ministries of Health provide official case counts. These ministries often have both websites and Facebook pages; the Facebook pages for Mali, Burkina Faso, and Chad are particularly active.
- Mauritania: website/Facebook (Arabic);
- Mali: website/Facebook;
- Burkina Faso: website/Facebook;
- Niger: website/Facebook;
- Chad: website/Facebook;
The Ministries also often have annual reports or other self-evaluations of health sector capacity, which can be key for gaining a sense of each country’s preparedness and infrastructure if you want a deeper dive.
Local journalists and other non-governmental bodies also provide frequent case count updates (mostly here I’m linking to Twitter accounts):
- Mauritania: Mahamadou Ly;
- Mali: Jigi and Studio Tamani;
- Burkina Faso: Le Faso, Infowakat, and Dieudonné Lankoandé;
- Niger: OCHA Niger, Coronavirus Niger, Aboubacar Barma, and Mamane Kaka Touda;
- Chad: Covid-19 Tchad.
Key Public Figures
Most of these links are to Twitter accounts. Sahelian heads of state and other top officials are now commenting frequently on COVID-19 and their governments’ responses:
- Mauritania: President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani (mostly posts in Arabic);
- Burkina Faso: President Roch Kaboré;
- Chad: President Idriss Deby (unverified account, but I believe it is genuine);
Important Press Coverage and Analysis
- Elh. Mahamadou Souleymane, Niger Inter, “Décryptage: Le chercheur Dr. Sounaye Abdoulaye se prononce sur la crise liée à la gestion du coronavirus au Niger” (April 24)
- Leena Hoffman and Paul Melley, “Coronavirus Risks Worsening a Food Crisis in the Sahel and West Africa” (May 1)
- Amanda Thomas-Johnson, “Doubts Greet Mauritania Claim of Total Control Over Coronavirus Spread” (May 3)
- Loïc Bisson, Anna Schmauder, and Johannes Claes, “The Politics of COVID-19 in the Sahel” (May 13)
- Sophie Douce, Le Monde, “Au Burkina Faso, la polémique sur la gestion de la lutte contre le coronavirus enfle” (May 18)
Other Useful Resources
- UNICEF publishes COVID-19 situation reports; for example, here are its reports on Chad from April 15 and May 14;
- FEWS-Net monitors food insecurity around the world; here is one April update about COVID-19’s impact on food security in Burkina Faso;
- I previously rounded up IMF statements on disbursements to Sahelian countries. The World Bank has an interactive map detailing their COVID-19 response projects around the world.
Africa-Wide Commentary Relevant to the Sahel
- George Bauer, “Beyond the Western Gaze” (May 29)
- Sa’eed Husaini interviewing Simukai Chigudu, “How Colonialism and Austerity Are Shaping Africa’s Response to the Coronavirus” (May 30)