Covid-19 in West Africa

Published : November 2020

Many measures aimed at tackling the health crisis have interconnected short-, medium- and long-term impacts on food and nutrition security. Depending on different scenarios, the number of food insecure people was set to double or triple. In April 2020, RPCA members estimated that the security crisis and the Covid-19 health crisis could tip over as many as 50 million additional people (phase 2) into a food and nutrition crisis. This estimate did not materialise. The incidence of the coronavirus in Africa was overall much lower than initially estimated, despite limited testing capacity and data gaps. Moreover, many safety net programmes effectively helped protect vulnerable households. Nevertheless, the Covid-19 pandemic heavily affected food systems directly through impacts on food supply and demand, supply chain disruptions but also indirectly through loss of incomes and employment, reduced social services, disruption of healh services. Mobility restrictions, border closure, curfew, lockdowns, market and school closures heavily impacted people’s access to food, particularly in urban areas. More than 20 million children missed out on school meals. Moreover, livelihoods of most vulnerable populations might be seriously deteriorated in the long term.

Countries : Region

Themes : Covid-19, Food security, Health, Social protection

Scale : Regional (West Africa)

Langs : English

See also

ECOWAS countries with more than 1 million acutely-food insecure people (phases 3-5)


Acutely-food insecure people in the UEMOA area (phase 3-5)


The ECOWAS area facing the 2021 food and nutrition crisis


The UEMOA area facing the 2021 food and nutrition crisis


Food and nutrition trends in the Sahel and West Africa, 2017-21